Happy Chinese New Year and the Year of the Horse!

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Chinese Year of the Horse

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We were just recently in Singapore and they were getting ready for Chinese New Year in a big way. The city has a thriving Chinatown, where we enjoyed food like durian, juices, temples, and shopping.  Much of Singapore’s population is descended from or part-Chinese and even though English is the official language, you can hear different Chinese dialects as you wander the streets.

Chinese Year of the Horse

Everywhere we went huge lanterns in the shape of a gracefully trotting horse were being hung amongst happy gold coin lanterns, said to be “galloping towards prosperity.”  The students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design created 88 of these great sculptures to display as the number eight is considered lucky.  We came upon one of the building tents in the center of Chinatown and it was exciting to see them piled up, corralled, before their big debut.

Chinese Year of the Horse

After living in both Japan and Korea, I am familiar with the 12 animals of the Chinese calendar.  I was born during the year of the tiger, and Jim was born in the year of the rabbit, which according to what I’ve read, means that we shouldn’t be overly compatible, but we are going on 29 years of marriage, so I guess it’s okay.


Chinese Year of the Horse

According to the zodiac,even though the horse can be a little stubborn and straight forward, he or she has some very nice qualities as well, such as:


  • Good judge of character
  • Good with money
  • Incredibly patient
  • Loyal friends
  • Very compassionate and willing to lend a shoulder to cry on



Chinese Year of the Horse

There are plenty of traditions surrounding Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, and one of them is to do a thorough house cleaning to get rid of any bad spirits from the year before.  Everyone likes to buy and wear new clothes, so they’ve taken full advantage of the preceding sales in all of the malls and maybe they will continue to add items in the special New Year’s market in Chinatown.  This way they will also look their snazziest when attending all their family reunion dinners where they get to eat many goodies.

However, one of the children’s favorite traditions is the giving of “hong bao” which are little red envelopes filled with money.  I just recently read a great “how to” on a travel blog written by Beth Williams.  She lives in Hong Kong where they call this “lai see,” but it’s the same thing.

Chinese Year of the Horse

Unfortunately, we were not able to hang around until January 31st for the parades, fireworks, lion dances, nightly shows and all the other events that are happening this weekend.  Maybe next year.

To read more about what is happening in Singapore during Chinese New Year, you can go here.

Chinese Year of the Horse

Have you been to Singapore?  Have you experience Chinese New Year anywhere in the world?  We’d love to hear your comments!


  1. Gung hei fat choi! Happy Chinese New Year!

    Thanks for linking to my article, I hope others find it helpful.
    I was lucky enough to experience CNY last year in Singapore, their snake displays were amazing, and their horse ones look just as nice this year.

  2. Singapore is way high on my list ever since I saw an Anthony Bourdain show featuring it. So clean, great food, low crime, safe. Yet humid. Ironic on the year of the horse. I bet Denver Bronco fans here in the states will be praying on that one tomorrow, Corinne! 🙂

    1. We did see Anthony’s face plastered on a few of the food stalls we tried. And the food at those stalls was excellent, but to be fair, it was excellent at most of the places we ate! I don’t think you can go wrong in Singapore. And I never even made the connection with the year of the horse! I’m changing my bet and putting it all on the Broncos.

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