16 January 2014 13:45 | By Ilsa Chan
River Hongbao goes big

This year's River Hongbao features the largest display of lanterns in the carnival's 28-year history.

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Photos: River Hongbao 2014

The annual River Hongbao is back – and it’s bigger and better!

Held at the Floating Platform @ Marina Bay, the Chinese New Year carnival will feature the largest display of lanterns in its 28-year history. The event has also been extended to 11 days and stretches over two weekends.

A team of 36 craftsmen from China’s Sichuan province had 45 days to put together 28 handcrafted larger-than-life lanterns from scratch.

Taking centrestage is the 18 metre-high God of Fortune, which will shower visitors with paper flakes bearing auspicious numbers during the event.

Though it was quite a feat to assemble the installation due to its height, crafting the durian lantern was the most challenging for master lantern-maker and artistic director Guo Wanlin, as he had never seen the fruit before.

Guo said he bought a durian from Chinatown and studied it for three days before working on the installation.

Each metal spike, which was pyramidal in shape and varies in height and points in different directions, had to be individually welded by hand to form a 2.5m-high frame.  Silk fabrics were then pasted onto the structure to complete the lantern.

Other highlights of the carnival include performances by the highly acclaimed Yunnan Opera Theatre and a handicraft street featuring jewellery and cultural products from Yunnan.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy Yunnan's famous delicacies such as the over-the-bridge rice noodles and Pu'er tea flavoured drumsticks. In addition, more than 40 different varieties of local and regional delicacies will also be offered at the food street.

River Hongbao is open from January 29 to February 8, from noon to 11.30pm. Admission is free.

Click on for more behind-the-scenes photos of River Hongbao.

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