Parade procession spread to other parts of Asia . Unlike the Chingay of Penang, which is extinct, the name took root in Singapore . Chingay over the years has evolved and assimilated other racial elements, starting with a Malay wedding and kompang item and an Indian music item in 1976. Foreign participation started in 1987 when The Straits Times Press sponsored a float featuring four popular Japanese artistes. Today, these ethnic elements enhanced the Mardi Gras spirit and are permanent features of the parade.
In 1990, to celebrate 25 years of Singapore 's independence, Chingay made its evening debut. Glittering floats, winking lights and sequined costumes were all part of the spectacular night parade. The Millennium Chingay saw the parade moved to a new route at the historic civic centre in front of the City Hall in 2000.
Chingay reached its cosmopolitan peak in 2000 and 2001 when exotic groups from far-flung regions like Tahiti , Ghana , Brazil and Slovenia made their first appearance and thrilled tourists and Singaporeans. They met their match in the sophisticated and strong participation of the local arts groups. Traditional art forms, imbued with modernised spirit, were presented in refreshing and innovative styles. Multi-ethnic flavours became even stronger and held their own pole position in the parade.
The evolution of Chingay is synonymous with the growth of Singapore . As Singapore learns to remake itself in the new millennium, greater self-expression in social and cultural creativity and innovation are encouraged. It is timely for Chingay to remake itself to reflect our cosmopolitan Singapore society and to have a wider appeal of our new generation of Singaporeans.
Chingay will continue to preserve the tradition of our Chinese New Year festivities. It will also continue to showcase the rich multi-cultural diversity of our society and offer the special and highly celebrated platform for our local community and local community arts groups to showcase their culture and art forms.
The participation of our international friends will continue to add to the exotic flavour and cultural richness of Chingay. The colourful floats will evoke many special feelings of our festive tradition and delight the hearts of many Singaporeans, young and old.
Chingay will now draw in more participation from both the people and commercial sector, to add greater diversity, colour, and spontaneity. People, young and old, commercial sector to people sector, arts groups, interest groups, ordinary people, talented artists, will participate in the remaking of the Chingay as a Parade of our people and of Singapore life…from prancing ions, clanging cymbals and stilt walkers to boy bands and beach volleyball culture. Traditional floats of fiery Chinese dragons will cruise alongside a cool Tiger Beer float.
Chingay will also evolve from a showpiece, contingent style parade to a parade of spontaneous celebration. People from all walks of life will want to be part of the Chingay Parade, to be watched and celebrated as one of the Parade's colours or gems, or as a spectator, mesmerised and clapping and grooving along. Commercial companies likewise will see Chingay as a platform to showcase and celebrate their people, their culture or art, their highly celebrated products, as colourful gems in the Parade.
In essence, the new Chingay stands for spontaneous expression of a new communal spirit and Singapore soul. It will reflect the collective dreams, cultures, and celebrations of our people and of our way of lives in Singapore in a new Chingay Parade of DreamS.