A giant rooster-shaped lantern installed in Chinatown of Singapore (Photo: straitstime.com)

Singapore (VNA) – It is still three weeks away from the Lunar New Year but the island country of Singapore has been engulfed by a festive atmosphere, with lion dances and colourful parades.

Activities to welcome the Year of the Rooster were officially launched on January 7 with a ceremony to light up lanterns in the China Town. The ceremony was attended by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and many government officials.

More than 5,500 lanterns in all shapes, from flower to chicken egg and rooster – the symbol of the upcoming lunar new year of 2017– illuminate the Chinese residential area, attracting thousands of visitors.

To make the record number of New Year lanterns, 40 artisans have been invited from China and worked for one month and a half.

The China Town is also decorated with a system of 13,000 LED bulbs of all colours.

But the highlight of the area is a giant 13m high Rooster at the entrance of the town.

In the next seven weeks, a range of festive activities will take place, including the 10th international lion dance contest with the participation of 17 teams from 10 countries (Vietnam will be represented by two teams), art shows every night, a street market with more than 400 stalls, and a countdown festival.-VNA