Solar New Year
09:30am to 11:00am - April 16, 2022

Festivities at Haw Par Villa

To usher in the Solar New Year at Haw Par Villa, we are organising Solar New Year Blessings. The event will take place on 16 April, Saturday, from 9.30am to 11am.

The blessings will be conducted by a Burmese Buddhist monk, a Thai Buddhist monk, a Tamil Hindu priest, and a Sikh priest.

They will begin in the Culture Courtyard, and then go on a procession around the park. All are welcome to observe the proceedings. 

After the blessings, there will be a Bhangra performance at the Culture Courtyard. Bhangra is a Punjabi folk dance which is popular during Vaisakhi, the Punjabi New Year. Everyone is welcome to join in the song and dance! 

Bhangra dances at a Vaisakhi Festival in London, UK. Photo: Nick Savage

Not sure where the Culture Courtyard is? Check out the Park Map

One Sun, One Celebration: The Haw Par Villa Solar New Year

The New Year is a time of fresh beginnings, renewed hope, and starting things on a clean slate.

The universal New Year is 1 January. The Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year, which usually falls in January or February. Slightly later in mid-April, another New Year arrives for a host of communities across South Asia and Southeast Asia. 

Young girls splashing water on passerbys and tourists
Students of Dhaka University, Bangladesh, lead a parade filled with colourful paper masks and statues to mark Pohela Boishakh on 14 April 2018. Photo credit: M Rahman.

Here in Haw Par Villa, we are celebrating the New Year in April as one event: 

The Solar New Year – a world first.

The Solar New Year

The Solar New Year unites communities that use variants of a solar calendar that originated in the Indian Subcontinent at least 3,500 years ago. Based on these calendars, communities in Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and southern China usher in the New Year between 13 and 16 April every year.

 

These Solar New Year festivals include the Tamil Puthandu (14 Apr), the Malayalee Vishu (15 Apr), the Bengali Pohela Boishakh (15 Apr), the Thai Songkran (13-15 Apr), the Burmese Thingyan (13-16 Apr), and the Punjabi Vaisakhi (14 Apr), among others. 

Haw Par Villa - A Park for the People

Bringing the Solar New Year to Haw Par Villa is part of our plan to make the park a vibrant space for all communities. This is in keeping with the spirit of the Aw brothers of Tiger Balm fame – Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par – who completed the construction of Haw Par Villa in 1937. They opened the park to the public to make it a community space. Likewise, our vision for Haw Par Villa is for it to be a space for all to enjoy, regardless of race or religion. 

 

From all of us at Haw Par Villa, we wish you a Happy Solar New Year! 🌞

Crowds thronging Haw Par Villa during the Lunar New Year, sometime in the 1970s. We hope future Solar New Years will attract similar crowds. Photo credit: Singapore History Consultants Pte Ltd.

Exploring the Solar New Year in Haw Par Villa

To find out more about calendars, New Years, and the festivals that will be observed in April, look for these exhibition panels at the Culture Courtyard. 

1. Introduction 

2 & 3. Introduction to Calendars

4 & 5. A Brief History of Calendars 

6. Aluth Avurudda (Sinhalese New Year)

7. Bohag Bihu (Assamese New Year) 

8. Choul Chnam Thmey / Moha Sangkran (Cambodian New Year) 

9. Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New Year) 

10. Puthandu (Tamil New Year) 

11. Songkran (Thai New Year) 

12. Thingyan (Burmese New Year) 

13. Vaisakhi (Punjabi New Year)

Greeting cards

We’ve created original greeting cards for the Solar New Year. Feel free to download them and send them to family and friends! 

Gallery

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