Rat Race: Play zodiac hunter, catch epic shows at Singapore’s Chinese New Year party

Chinese New Year Celebrations. Photo: River Hongbao / Facebook
Chinese New Year Celebrations. Photo: River Hongbao / Facebook

Annual Chinese New Year mega-festival River Hongbao returns to the Marina Bay area with fireworks, vibrant lanterns and a special, Pokemon Go-style game that will send players hunting for zodiac animals instead of monsters.

A special exhibition on the ang bao, or red envelope, as well as scrumptious food and boisterous concerts will ring in the Year of the Rat from Jan. 23 to 27 at The Float@Marina Bay.

Admission is free to the outdoor event, the first to be organized by a committee not led by parliamentary members. Here are some highlights.

Pokemon GO 2.0?

Already reached level 40 on Pokemon Go? Extend your expert monster-searching skills to #HuntYourZodiac at River Hongbao’s inaugural augmented reality game. Gamers will hunt for 12 Chinese zodiac animals for a chance to win prizes including gift vouchers and cash. 

The game can be accessed via Facebook and also contains Chinese horoscope predictions for the Year of the Rat.

Dazzling Lanterns

Beautifully crafted lanterns will again be the centerpiece decoration, with more than 20 pieces set to dazzle Instagram-crazy visitors. 

Look out for a rat-shaped lantern or others made to look like the good luck banyan known as the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree, spring blossoms, and more. 

Prosperity in Packets: Hongbao Giving in Chinese Culture 

Handing out cash-stuffed red envelopes is festival’s best-known tradition, probably because everyone likes getting cash. Of course that money is meant to convey the givers’ blessings for the upcoming year. 

The Prosperity in Packets: Hongbao Giving in Chinese Culture exhibition will showcase over 400 red packets, some of which will come from a private collection. 

Ring in the new year with fireworks

Didn’t get enough fireworks on New Year’s Eve? Don’t worry, there are more pyrotechnics to come. 

The Marina Bay skyline will be ablaze, again, at 9pm most days during the event, culminating in a midnight show on Jan. 24 for Chinese New Year’s Eve.

9pm, Jan. 23
Midnight, Jan. 24
9pm, Jan. 25 – 28
10pm, Jan. 29 – 30
9:30pm, Jan. 31 – Feb. 1


Singaporean artists including Zoe Tay, Desmond Tan and Ya Hui will join overseas performers for this year’s evening shows.

Imported talents include traditional folk dancers from China’s Shandong Song and Dance Theatre and performers from the University of Taipei. 

Carnival & Street Food 

Chinese New Year would not be celebrated right without food. Find a wide variety at this year’s food bazaar, located near a carnival offering more than 20 rides and games. 

This year’s array of delicious bites will reflect the many different Chinese dialect groups in Singapore, such as Hokkien and Teochew, according to organizers.

River Hongbao
Jan. 23 to Feb. 1
2pm to 11pm daily
The Float @ Marina Bay
20 Raffles Ave, The Float @ Marina Bay, Singapore 039805



Chinese New Year 2020: Our picks for the most unique yu sheng to toss
Chinese New Year 2020: Best goodies to usher in the year of the rat

Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!



Leave a Reply

Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on