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Chinese New Year Chingay Parade 2011

This year's Chinese New Year Chingay Parade, one of the grandest ever, got off to a fiery start last night as a fire-spewing dragon float, colourful performers and a spectacular firework display lit up the F1 Pit Building in Singapore's Marina Bay.

Dragon Dance - Chingay 2011Spearheading the parade is a fiery dragon dance display. A pair of 88m-long dragons, manned by dancers from Xi'an, China, fired up the opening sequence with their bodies shimmering and swirling before a delighted 80,000 strong audience. However some of the outdoor acts had to be cancelled due to a heavy downpour earlier in the evening, but that did not dampen the mood.

Also gracing the occasion was Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who arrived on top of an auspicious Fortune, Wealth and Longevity Float, accompanied by 80 God of Fortune characters and an entourage of roaring Harley-Davidson motorbikes and vintage cars.

Stiltwalkers -Chingay 2011More than 8,000 performers were involved in the parade, including the largest-ever contingent of Malay and Indian participants - 1,200 Malays and 300 Indians. Performers and stilt-walkers filled the streets with high-energy acts.

The many international acts definitely broadened the cultural experience this year. Among the performers were members of the Singapore Soka Association, which celebrates its 30th year of Chingay participation. It put up a lively show based on an animal kingdom theme, with some members dressed in costumes twice their height.

Photo credit: The Straits Times

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