Many of Singapore’s cultural gems are a heritage from Cantonese and Hakka culture, and what better way to discover how than with a festival? This March 25th, you have the unique chance to immerse yourself in a rich world of traditional food, martial arts, opera, and much more with Ho Yeah Festival, the first Cantonese and Hakka-themed festival to hit the island.
Ho Yeah Festival is organised by Ching Yoon Wooi Koon and Bishan Youth Executive Committee, who seek to help Singapore’s youth connect with their root by showcasing the beauty and colours of Cantonese and Hakka culture. Heritage-themed foods, booths and carnival games are only the surface of what awaits everyone in this festival, though.
The main showing will be traditional food, with a Cantonese food galore accompanied by the 5th Singapore Heritage Short Film Competition, where participants will receive tips from the organisers to bring Singapore’s unique heritage, as seen through their eyes, all the way to the big screen.
While not eating, though, there’s plenty to do, as the festival sports multiple workshops and hands-on events.
For the martial art aficionados, “Kungfu is more than just kicks and punches” is the chance to learn you some Kung Fu while discovering Guangdong’s history of martial art schools. For more pump up (and for getting some inspiration in general), remember to catch the screening of “Bruce Lee, My Brother”!
Maybe you are more into dancing than fighting? “Shall we Lion Dance?” is a hands-on lion dance session where this iconic dance gets the recognition it deserves for its role in the revolution against opium (and maybe you get double the good luck if it’s you under the lion?).
By the way, workshops are conducted in English, Mandarin and, of course, Cantonese – which you can catch up on with yet another workshop! “Let’s Speak Cantonese” is what it says on the tin, and in this interactive session, you get to pick up proverbs and idioms you can take out into everyday life!
Luckily, there are enough relaxing activities too. The intellectual types and music lovers will enjoy the opera segments, accompanied by classic duets like Romance of the Phoenix Chamber and The Fragrant Demise. On the other hand, the Canto Pop & Classics time mixes up folkloric tunes with more recent hits from G.E.M, Beyond and more.
And of course, if you are serious about discovering Cantonese culture, history talks like “Bishan and its Cantonese Origins” and “The Cantonese Women of Keong Saik” will give you a clear look into its past and present.
Don’t think this is all though; just like Cantonese culture’s treasures, there are still many surprises left inside Ho Yeah Festival (spoilers: it includes cute activities like doing your jewellery and miniature food!).
Ho Yeah Festival will take place this March 25th (Sunday!), from 10am to 9pm, at the Bishan Community Club (51 Bishan Street 13, Singapore 579799). While you need to get your tickets for the workshops, the rest of the event is available for SGD10 per ticket, which includes food and drinks. Plus, the schedules are organised so you don’t miss any event!cantonese culture history ho yeah festival