Stepping into Heritage: Five Footway Festival Returns to Chinatown Singapore from 9 to 17 March 2024

As the Lunar New Year festivities wind down, another vibrant festival is set to take over the bustling streets of Chinatown! The Five Footway Festival is returning for its third edition, slated to run from 9 to 17 March 2024. 

Organised by the Chinatown Business Association in collaboration with programme partners, the Five Footway Festival will take place at various locations in Chinatown with over 70 activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The festival offers a fantastic opportunity to relive the storied history of Chinatown through traditional games, exhibitions, performances and workshops! Admission to the Five Footway Festival is free.

Discover the early days of Chinatown at Five Footway Festival 2024

Now you must be wondering why is it called ‘Five Footway Festival’?

The name pays homage to Singapore’s charming shophouses, where sheltered pathways, are referred to “five-foot ways”. The theme of the Five Footway Festival is a nostalgic journey into Chinatown’s storied past, how the lives of early immigrants were centred at the Five Footway across trades, clan activities, cultural, arts and entertainment activities and beyond.

Festival Highlights 

Conserved Buildings in Chinatown Tour

Festival goers have an exciting opportunity to join the ‘Conserved Buildings in Chinatown’ walking trail, presented by Do It SG. This educational tour offers insights into the preservation of Singapore’s historic architecture, the vibrant past of Chinatown’s oldest structures, and the bustling traditional activities of the Five Footways. Be captivated by folktales at the ‘Joss Stick Storytelling’ session.

Tan Ah Huat in Chinatown

Don’t miss ‘Tan Ah Huat in Chinatown’, a unique theatrical walk organised by Let’s Go Tour. Journey into the past as Tan Ah Huat, a character embodying an immigrant from the 1920s, narrates the intriguing stories of Chinatown’s early days in Singapore.

Kirin Dance & Workshop

Paying homage to its previous name Theatre Street or Hei Yuen Kai, Smith Street is set to enthrall visitors to the Five Footway Festival with rich, cultural theatre acts across Cantonese opera, Teochew opera and Peking opera performances as well as the Hokkien puppet show. The festival will provide opportunities for visitors to pick up some of these traditional skills through various workshops and classes.

Colourful Dialects

Visitors can sign up for Colourful Dialects to create their own personalised idiom and slangs colouring book, while learning their meanings and how to use them. Alternatively, Ping Sheh’s Introduction to Peking Opera class and Yan Wong Cultural Troupe’s Kirin Workshop offer participants a fun and inclusive time to experience their music, movements and more.

Uncovering traditional dishes in Chinatown

Food is without a doubt, an important part of Singapore’s identity, and naturally, it’s a major highlight at the Five Footway Festival.

Cantonese Put Chai Ko Making
  • Explore Hakka Imperial Kitchen’s luxurious Hakka heritage and indulge in the art of making Hakka rice wine.
  • Engage in a hands-on experience preparing traditional Hakka omelette toast.
  • Participate in AMD Wedding’s Traditional Wedding Talk for unique cultural insights.
  • Join Auntie Helen’s culinary class to master the Hainanese pineapple stir-fry pork rind and chicken with fried preserved beans.
  • Discover the secrets of Put Chai Ko, a classic Cantonese dessert, in Chef Colin’s making classes with Let’s Go Tour.
  • Embark on an immersive educational odyssey to learn precision and patience in culinary traditions, focusing on glutinous rice flour dishes and flavour equilibrium.
Tong Heng – Make your Good Own Omelette Toast

Old school games, traditional Singaporean snacks and more

Visitors playing zero point

Families with kids can look out for traditional games taking place at Five Footway Festival. Pagoda Street becomes a playground where childhood games such as can and ring toss, hoop wheeling, chapteh, zero point, and snakes and ladders come to life. There will also be stall vendors selling traditional Singaporean snacks and biscuits. In a nod to Singapore’s rich cultural heritage, characters like stilt walking Samsui women and policemen in classic khaki shorts roam the street, providing unique photo opportunities for attendees. There will also be movie screenings, dragon dance performances, martial arts displays and more at the festival.

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