Fri, 13 Jan 2023 - Sun, 26 Feb 2023
9.00am - 9.00pm
This Chinese New Year, visitors to Gardens by the Bay can look forward to ushering in the Year of the Rabbit with 100 rabbits as they take centrestage at Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Dome, as part of the annual Chinese New Year floral display Dahlia Dreams.
With 百兔 (băi tù) or a hundred rabbits being a homonym of 白兔 (bái tù) or white rabbit, various incarnations of 100 bunnies – including cute figurines, rabbit-shaped lanterns and a 1.5m artistic sculpture made of driftwood – frolic among more than 2,000 colourful flowering plants. Dahlia Dreams will feature close to 40 varieties of vibrant dahlias from Europe throughout the duration of the floral display, nurtured to bloom from tubers by the Gardens’ horticulturists, alongside other popular Chinese New Year blooms such as celosias, chrysanthemums, cymbidiums, guzmanias, marigolds, oncidiums and pussy willows.
Visitors to Dahlia Dreams will also be enchanted by elements such as the centrepiece of the floral display, an iconic 6m tall River Hongbao lantern set featuring a majestic magnolia tree in the shape of the word ‘rabbit’ in Chinese (兔, tù). Integrated into the floral display will also be an interpretation of the Aesop’s fable, “The Hare and the Tortoise", as well as well-known aspects of Chinese culture such as paper-cutting, lion dance, Chinese New Year goodies and spring couplets.
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 - Sun, 26 Feb 2023
9.00am - 9.00pm
Admission charge to Flower Dome applies
The Chinese idiom “狡兔三窟” (jiǎo tù sān kū), which originally means “A sly rabbit has three burrows”, makes reference to not putting your eggs in one basket, and having backup plans. This puts a positive spin on the saying which features three outstanding rabbits '佼’兔 (jiăo tù)in different burrows – a magnolia tree, a mossy hill, and among mountain rocks. Spot them during your visit!
Aesop’s The Hare and the Tortoise is a prominent moral fable involving an arrogant hare who challenges the slow tortoise to a race. Our Chinese New Year version of the tale sees the two animals teaming up and helping each other reach the finishing line. They begin by studying the map which marks out the route they are to take. Spot the rabbit spectators perching on the 5-tiered pagoda in the background, waiting with bated breath for the race to begin!
Businesses and homeowners traditionally invite lion dance troupes to perform the 採青(căi qīng), translated to “plucking of greens” ritual on their premises on the eve of Chinese New Year and other auspicious occasions to usher in good luck and fortune for the year ahead. Spot the rabbit leaping into the air with the tortoise on its back as they successfully pluck the bundle of carrots before the lions get to them!
Spot the rabbits cheering the tortoise and its partner on with the beating of drums during your visit as they cross the river. Drums were originally used in China for both celebration and in war, with leaders using them for motivation and to ensure that a uniform marching pace was kept.
Chinese New Year favourites such as cookies, candies and yu sheng (raw fish salad), which are consumed during the festival, hold special significance. They are believed to bring prosperity and good fortune for the year ahead. Spot the rabbit and the tortoise enjoying the fruits of their labour having won the race.
Generously gifted by Dr & Mrs Lee Suan Yew, this exquisite vase features an example of a "hundred children painting" or 百子图 (bǎi zǐ tú). It bears illustrations of numerous children gambolling in a garden, joyfully engaged in various pursuits – a recognisable motif in Chinese art symbolising fertility, prosperity and abundance.
An expression of the Chinese’s desire for the continuity of the family through many offspring, hundred children paintings allude to the story of King Wen (Zhou Wen Wang), the legendary father of the Zhou Dynasty’s founder, King Wu. King Wen had 99 sons and adopted an infant he found after a thunderstorm, so he could have a total of 100 sons.
Rabbits are also a symbol of fertility and abundance. Spot them in frolicking in the hill cavern mirroring some of the children’s poses!
Native to Mexico and Central America, dahlias belong to one of the largest flowering plant families, Asteraceae, or the sunflower family. They are related to chrysanthemums, gerberas, daisies and marigolds to name a few.
Dahlias appear to have a single bloom on each stem. However, each head consists of a cluster of tiny individual flowers known as disc and ray florets. Disc florets lie in the centre and resemble tiny tubes, while ray florets are essentially the petals. There are around 30 dahlia species, and thousands of different cultivars and hybrids. Except for blue, dahlias come in a wide variety of colours, with variegated and bi-coloured varieties as well.
Dahlias not only come in a wide range of colours, they also have a great variety of flower forms. They range in size from tiny dahlia flowers 5 centimetres in diameter, to “dinner plate” flowers measuring 25 centimetres across! Dahlias are categorized into various groups according to their flower forms - ball, decorative, cactus, anemone, collarette, pompom, orchid and waterlily, just to name a few. Try your hand at identifying these striking dahlia varieties in the following forms on display during your visit!