In Singapore, like China, every ethnic group its own festivals, mostly related to its religion. As the people who are living in this beautiful city, they respect and celebrate the festivals with relish. You can see there are many colourful festivals and events held in Singapore. In general, the festive periods are the best time to visit Singapore as they present you with the perfect opportunity to truly experience Singapore up-close. You can take a trip to Chinatown, immerse yourself into the spirit of the festive season, you may get a different feeling. The following are some most important in Singapore you have a look.
1. Chinese New Year
This is an exceptionally festive time for Singapore. If you plan on being here during that time, best to book your accommodation early. Festivities take place all over the city and include the spectacular Chingay Parade, music and dance performances, fireworks and a multitude of other parades.
Deepavali celebrates the victory of good over evil, symbolized by the legendary slaying of the oppressive Narakasura by Lord Krishna. It marks the beginning of the Indian New Year, and for the business community it is a time for settling debts. It is also believed that the souls of departed relatives descend to earth during this festival, and oil lamps are lit to guide them.
3. Singapore River Festivals
For a week in June the bars along Boat Quay serve cocktails from dusk until dawn for the Singapore River party while traditional Chinese bumboats parade the waters. In the same month, international dragon boat crews descend on the Marina Bay shores for the high-octane Dragon Boat Festival races.
4. Vesak Day
Vesak Day is in April or May throughout Singapore. The life of Buddha is celebrated on Vesak Day and caged birds are released to symbolize the liberation of captive souls. Celebrations are carried out at all Buddhist temples where monks commemorate their Lord Buddha’s entry into Nirvana by chanting holy sutras and releasing captive birds.
The Pongal Festival is originally held in celebration of a good harvest in South India, where farming is the main form of livelihood. Here in Singapore, the Pongal Festival welcomes the beginning of the 10th Tamil month, called Thai, which falls in mid-January each year. It is celebrated in the form of a thanksgiving and usually lasts four days. Pongal literally means to boil over and hence the pot of rice is allowed to boil over as a sign of prosperity.
6. Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival commemorates the patriot Shu Yuan Zhang, who plotted to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the Yuan dynasty in the 14th century, and is said to have passed his plans to his fellow rebels hidden in mooncakes. Hence today, these moon-shaped pastries with sweet fillings of red bean and lotus seed paste are exchanged as gifts. Lanterns of all shapes and sizes are carried in processions. In Singapore the Chinese Garden is the special venue for this most beautiful of all the Chinese festivals.
7. The Lantern Festival
Lion dances entertain locals who head to Chinatown to stock up on seasonal moon cake pastries during this colourful mid-autumn festival. The pagoda and bridges of Chinese Garden in Jurong are covered in novelty and animal lanterns that all ages will adore.
8. Hari Raya Haji
Hari Raya Haji, otherwise known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”, is celebrated over a period of three days by Muslims all over the world. It commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in the name of God. According to the Islamic calendar, Hijrah, this festival starts on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja, 70 days after the holy month of Ramadan.
9. Hungry Ghost Festival
The Chinese believe this is a time when the souls of the dead roam the earth, causing people burn incense in order to be blessed and not to be disturbed by the spirits. Chinese opera performances and offerings of food are dedicated to the spirits.