Hoping to explore a Singapore festival that isn’t filled with rich kids, whose tickets were bought by their parents? Try looking into being familiarised with the diverse ethnic cultures and traditions of Singapore. There are a plethora of festivals; all of which are a must-see. Check out this list of the biggest cultural festivals that are located throughout the island.
The Spring Festival Singapore
The Spring Festival celebrates the Chinese New Year. This day is the most important and popular event in the Chinese Calendar. Beginning on the new moon which appears between January 21st and February 20th, the streets of Chinatown are filled with astonishing lanterns, weeks before the actual celebration. Special dishes, seasonal markets, and lion dances are demonstrated to celebrate this popular day. Not to mention you’ll be handed a mandarin orange for good luck. An orange for good luck, and streets filled with entertainment? What more could you want?
Singapore Mid-Autumn Festival
Family gatherings, lanterns and mooncakes; a major part of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Noted as being one of the loveliest festivals in all of Singapore, this festival is dedicated to lunar appreciation on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Once the sun goes does, celebrations begin. Most use the experience to have moon-viewing parties. Family and friends sit together and enjoy the nightlife while nibbling on mooncakes. Legend has it that mooncakes helped to free Yuan China from Mongol rule, by using these pastries to hide and pass messages amongst each other. A rebel induced snack; what a perfect treat for a peaceful festival.
Thaipusam is a festival dedicated to followers of Hinduism. This day is celebrated on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai. Of course, you don’t have to be Hindu to attend, but it’s important to know why this festival exists. Attendees walk 4.5 kilometres with relatives and friends while chanting songs and prayers to support and encourage each other. The festival is dedicated to the themes of virtue, youth, power, and the destruction of evil. If you want to experience a powerful festival that’ll captivate most, make sure to attend Thaipusam.
Singapore National Day
One of the most popular days in Singapore is the National Day of Singapore. This day is celebrated every year on August 9th, when Singapore first gained independence from Malaysia in 1965. Similar to other National Days around the world, the day features a National Day Parade, a speech by the Prime Minister of Singapore, as well as an incredible fireworks celebration. Looking to compare and contrast other National Day celebrations to your own? Make sure to stop by this celebration, and immerse yourself with the locals.
Hungry Ghost Festival Singapore
On the 15th day of the 7th month in the lunar calendar is Ghost Day, and the entire month is known as Ghost Month. As you might assume, this festival is dedicated to ghosts and spirits. Usually around the remembrance of deceased ancestors. The festival is celebrated with concert-like performances. This celebration will keep you entertained as performances by singers, entertainers, puppeteers, and opera groups are set up throughout the island.
Vesak Day is celebrated on the first full moon that occurs in May. Dubbed as the celebration of “Buddha’s Birthday”, this festival begins at the crack of dawn. The festival is all about the offerings of good deeds. Buddhists and other attendees celebrate the day by organising blood donations to hospitals, visit elderly homes, and make donations to the poor. All in all, it’s a beautiful day about giving back to the world. It brings out the best in humanity, and how we should all treat each other.
Pongal Singapore Festival
Pongal is celebrated when the month of Thai is complete. Typically, the festival lasts four days. Although the festival is typically celebrated by Hindu followers, it is very popular throughout all of Singapore. The first few days of the festival are dedicated to different Gods of Hinduism, with different traditions. The last day of the celebration is about the entire community and bringing everyone together. Besides the religious aspect, there are a series of celebrations that include performances, and activities. It’s a beautiful few days of festivities and has become one of the more popular festivals in Singapore.
One of the major cultural festivals of Singapore, Deepavali is a Hindu celebration of good over evil. The entire celebration is based on helping others. Thousands of families in Singapore dedicate themselves to transforming their homes to exchange gifts, share food, and perform prayers to certain Gods of their religion. The festival lasts around five days and is celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. The homes that celebrate Deepavali are noticeable with a beautiful array of coloured pictures that are made out of rice, flour, and occasionally flower petals. These artworks are dedicated to blessing their household for the following year.
Dragon Boat Festival Singapore
Want to experience the combination of drumbeats and dumplings? Explore the Dragon Boat Festival in Singapore. Occurring on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, the festival includes dragon boat racing, dumplings, realgar wine, and 5-coloured silk-threaded braids. In simple terms, you celebrate the day by eating, drinking, and racing boats. It has become one of the most popular festivals in Singapore and is an incredible experience for any family, group of friends.
Exploring a culturally and diverse country like Singapore offers the opportunity to check out a wide range of festivals that celebrate every type of celebration. There are countless celebrations throughout the year, and make sure to take note of which are occurring during the time you’re on the island. No matter your religion or ethnicity, explore these festivals and immerse yourself in the local culture of the island. If need be, step out of your comfort zone and force yourself to try something new and exciting. And hey, you might be lucky enough and get handed a lucky orange or tasty dumpling.