Events & Festivals in Singapore | Experience the Multi-Ethnic Culture

Written By Priyadarshini Nandi

October 14, 2020

Singapore is a truly diverse country and its festivals are a reflection of that. The people who live here come from different cultures, ethnicities, and religions. Hence, the events & festivals in Singapore have taken shape from varied communities.

The country has a vast Chinese community and they celebrate their new year in February. Singaporean Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day in May and Deepavali is celebrated by Hindus in October. Along with traditional festivals, there are many contemporary events in the country. For instance, National Singapore Day, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and Marathons as well.

Discover some of the vibrant events & festivals in Singapore.

Chinese New Year  

This is undoubtedly the most important festival in the Chinese lunar calendar. The tiny island nation comes to a halt to celebrate this festival. Chinese New Year lasts for a fortnight between January and February. Chinatown area is liveliest during this period and looks beautiful. Every corner of this ethnic quarter is decorated. This festival marks the preparation of Chinese cookies like pineapple tarts & love letters. Moreover, there’s barbecued pork and sumptuous Chinese dinners.

Yu sheng, or raw fish is another unique feature. The raw fish is served in a colourful bed of salad. The colours symbolizes prosperity and good health. At the peak of the festival, you will see colourful stalls and smell incense sticks at little altars around. In addition to it the smoke from the incense fill the air as people offer prayers to their gods. To sum it up, the festival is celebrated by gala feasting and it is one of the most popular events & festivals in Singapore.

Qing Ming Festival 

This festival is celebrated by Chinese believers for their ancestors. During this festival, you will find packed temples. People visit temples since the crack of dawn. They offer Chinese pastries and different kinds of food. Many light candles and burn incense for their ancestors. Some people also celebrate Qing Ming by going to the cemetery. Families join hands to clean the graves of their ancestors. They offer respect and prayers in memory of the deceased.

Vesak Day

Vesak Day is to celebrate the birth of the Lord Gautama Buddha. Singapore has many Buddhist followers. They visit Buddhist temples to offer their prayers. During this period, Buddhists dedicate themselves to the core teachings of Lord Gautama Buddha. Lord Gautam Buddha taught the world the importance of moderation and release from worldly desires.

In temples, a priest dressed in new saffron robes sprinkles holy water over devotees to bless them. Monks also release a flock of doves from cages. Therefore, symbolizing freedom from worldly bondages.

Singapore Triathlon

This is an annual event hosted by the Triathlon Association of Singapore (TAS).  Athletes participate in this event to swim 1.5kms in the open sea. Other competitions include cycling for 40kms and a 10km running race. This sports event is a part of the Asia-Cup Series. Professional athletes participate and have a chance to gain points by participating in the Triathlon.

Festival of the Hungry Ghost

This festival is quite interesting. Taoist believers mark the Hungry Ghost Festival by offering food  to the ghosts. For instance, fruits, cakes, or an entire meal are offered to please the famished spirits. They believe the ghosts are hungry after a rough time in hell. Adding to this, people burn huge joss sticks light candles to appease the ghosts. Children are not allowed to stay out late in the night. Moreover, any auspicious investment or activity is halted during this Month. The air is laden is with traditions & superstitions. You can also pay a visit to Chinatown as some street shows that are held during this festival.

Deepavali

This is the most important festival for Hindus. It falls during the month of October. The ethnic quarters of Little India are lit up and decorated. You can see strings of colorful lights, lanterns and you can hear loud music everywhere. The streets throb with food stalls and people celebrate with pomp & grandeur. Deepavali marks the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. People light their homes with oil lamps and offer sweets to each other.

Singapore Marathon 

This sports event is for marathon enthusiasts. The Singapore Marathon is an annual event and both local and international athletes participate in it. This event provides local participants with an opportunity to run with professional marathoners. Marathon is a test of one’s mental fitness and not only physical endurance. For runners, completing a marathon run is an ultimate mission.

Christmas 

Christmas is a full-blown celebration in the country. In Singapore, you will find Christmas carols, late-night mass, decorated Christmas trees all around. Moreover, you will also witness nativity scenes decorated across the city. Of course, not snow! But the spirit of Christmas is omnipresent.

Hotels and stand-alone restaurants host high-teas. As Christmas puddings, log cakes are the flavors of the season. There are also gala dinners served with stuffed turkey. Orchard Road is decked up and the streets are festooned with Christmas décor. You will find  strings of fairy lights lighting up the streets. To sum up, the look and feel of the city are spectacular as its jingle bell time everywhere!

Mid-Autumn Festival

This is also popularly known as the Mooncake Festival, or the Lantern Festival.  The festival is celebrated when the moon shines bright at its fullest. Usually, this festival falls in the month of September. Many legends or fables surround the mooncake festival. However, today people celebrate those legends by eating mooncakes and lighting the lanterns. Children light up vibrant lanterns in various shapes like fishes and butterflies. Moreover, the streets of Chinatown are filled with stalls. You will find stalls selling gorgeous mooncakes and other Chinese delicacies. The Mid-Autumn Festival is the perfect time to visit Chinatown as it is decorated beautifully. The environment is bright & vivacious during the festival.

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