Every year at River Hongbao by Marina Bay (and in more recent years, at The Float @ Marina Bay), the annual Chinese New Year festival extravaganza, there will always be a giant Chinese god of fortune installed amidst the rest of the Chinese history, folklore and legend inspired installations. Chinese are great believers in good fortune and prosperity. The common cry of “Huat ah” (to prosper) graces chinese homes across the country during chinese new year season. No where is this more evident than the crowds pushing their way under the god of fortune at River Hongbao hoping for a sprinkle of gold dust and good fortune.
Among the zodiac lanterns and other giant light installations, the god of fortune towers impressively over the rest of the other structures, giving prominence to the ideals and the hopes of people to prosper financially.
Every year, at certain times of the festival, the massive structure will spew forth “gold dust” and lucky numbers for adherents of the faith to catch, in the hopes of landing good fortune, and perhaps a lucky number of so to win the local lottery. It’s a spectacle of its own, with everyone from young to old looking skywards towards heaven, with umbrellas, open bags, clasped hands forming containers aiming to capture as much of the specks of gold glitter as they could.
I was crushed in the crowd last night as I waded into the middle of the feeding frenzy – that was the first year I felt my safety was threatened by the hordes of fortune hunters, and I had to hold onto my camera tightly while trying to navigate the crowds and take pictures at the same time.
What do these people want to find among golden colored pieces of paper? The answer I believe, is a certain hope, a hope that in the lunar new year of 2013, perhaps the good fortune that had proven so elusive for some of them, would finally find its way into their lives.
Happy Chinese New Year to all!
Photos all shot with a Leica M9 and a single 35mm Summarit f2.5mm lens except for 1 photo with a Ricoh GXR with the A12 28mm f2.5 module.