The happening city of Singapore can be considered as a cultural hub where you can find ethnic groups of various origins like Indian, Malay and Chinese. The development of the country has led to an increasing influx of people from different parts of the world to offer the place with a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural image. Every ethnic community maintains their lifestyle in their own way and together live harmoniously and peacefully. The unique blend of people and cultures leads to celebrations all year round from socio-cultural festivities to religious celebrations.
Popular Singapore Festivals
Apart from celebrating specific festivals of every ethnic group along with their festivals, Singapore also celebrates different important anniversaries throughout the entire nation.
Watching the famous Hindu festival of Thaipusam is definitely worth an experience. In this festival, male Hindu devotees seek forgiveness and penance from the gods by undertaking the tough challenge of walking a distance of three kilometres laden with portable shrines or the enormous kavadi. The shrine is pierced into the body with the help of skewers and spikes and there are times when the devotees need to drag the kavadi like chariots. Many supporters gather around the person shouting, clapping and chanting prayers for encouragement.
Chinese New Year
Without any doubt, the Chinese New Year happens to be Chinese lunar calendar’s most important festival. The festive period usually lasts for at least fifteen days and generally takes place during the period from January to February. This special festival brings the entire island to a stop as people of all origins get in the mood.
The real action, however takes place at Chinatown. Every Chinese person, the night before the start of their New Year, rushes home for the yearly family reunion dinner. The specialty dish that usually feature during the feast is Yu Sheng, which is basically raw fish placed in colourful salad.
During the festive weeks, the streets get lined with colourful stalls selling everything starting from pussy willow to golden and red greeting cards. The smell of incense fills up the air and creates an environment where everybody seems to be in good mood.
The Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day which marks the birth of Lord Gautama Buddha. Followers of Buddha in Singapore pay their visits to different Buddhist temples available all throughout the island to offer their prayers and worship. Monks donned in new saffron coloured clothing sprinkle holy water and chant blessings to the devotees.
This is also the time when many Buddhists dedicate themselves towards moderation and release from other worldly desires. You can also witness the release of doves from cages by the monks signifying freedom of humanity from earthly bondages.
Hari Raya Puasa
Also known by the name of Eid al-Fitr throughout the world, this festival holds extreme importance for Malayan community residing in Singapore. The festival can take place in any month. Marking the end of the month of fasting or Ramadan, the festival tends to light up the atmosphere with cultural performances and Malays wearing new clothes with striking colors. Muslims visit their near and dear ones and even offer morning prayers at local mosques. Cultural performances such as traditional Malay dance and song are also considered to be a part of this festival.
Among the different festivals for Hindus, Deepavali is definitely an important date in the Hindu calendar. The festival takes places either during the month of October or November and tends to last nearly a whole month. Described as Festival of Lights, the festival marks the end of evil Narakasura by Lord Krishna. This day is celebrated all over the globe by Hindus which signifies the end of darkness and triumph of light or end of evil and triumph of good.
Little India is the place where you should visit during Deepavali as the streets are lighted in beautiful colours with booming music and roadside stalls featuring variety of dishes. The streets are thronged by people in search of appropriate ethnic wears or to shop for Indian spices and foods. Hindus light their homes with oil lamps and also offer garlands and sweetmeats at their family altars.
Campbell Lane is another place which opens up to life during this festive season. The stall in Deepavali festival Village offering variety of things which include Indian jewellery, costumes, furniture, foods as well as arts and crafts.
Holiday spirits for Christmas start to build weeks before the actual date of the festival. You can find all trappings of traditional Christmas like late-night mass, Christmas Carolling, winking fir trees, nativity scenes, as well as gaily-wrapped presents.
Marina Bay and Orchard Road undergo huge transformation during this time of the season highlighted by glorious celebratory arches, festive street lighting, brilliant water features and picture-perfect themes. Several night time entertainment events take place along Orchard Road which includes parade float and Christmas themed activities performed by choral groups. Artificial frost is sprayed on the shopping malls and snow making machines are also put to use for delighting people immersed in the festive mood.
Also known as Mid-Autumn Festival or Lantern Festival, the Mooncake Festival generally takes place in September. According to Chinese Lunar Calendar, the festival is held on fifteenth day of the 8th month when the moon is the brightest and fullest. There are lots of legends that surround this beautiful festival.
During the festival night, brightly coloured lanterns are lit up by children. The lanterns are of different shapes like butterflies, squirrels or fishes. The suburb corners look like some distant fairylands with the lanterns lighting up the entire area. When it comes to Chinatown, majority of the stalls feature mooncakes as well as other tidbits. The Chinese Gardens offer a spectacular sight to the visitors as hundreds of Chinese lanterns adorn the park.
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