Singapore has a vast mix of culture. Along with comes a full calender of colourful festival throughout the year.
Being a culturally-open and sensitive society, the major festivals like Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Christmas and Chinese New Year are celebrated.
Every ethnic group in Singapore has its own festivals, mostly related to its religion.
Almost every month of the year sees a celebration of some form or other, bringing a visual feast of colour, pomp and ceremony which is enjoyed by the whole population.
Singapore post issues special stamps every year to celebrate these amazing festivals.
Festivals of Singapore
# Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, is one of the most eagerly anticipated occasions each year.
This is the biggest and most significant event of the Chinese community, and it is observed by Singaporeans from all walks of life.
The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th day.
Symbolically, new clothes are usually worn to signify the new year. It is also the tradition for every family to thoroughly clean their homes to “sweep away” any ill-fortune, making way for the arrival of good luck.
Chinese New Year also brings people together, and is marked by visits to kin, relatives and friends, a practice known simply as “new-year visits”.
The highlight for children and younger members of the family during these visits comes in little red packets, or “hong bao”, filled with money.
Another significant tradition is the Reunion Dinner, which takes place on the Eve of Chinese New Year, and is an occasion for families to come together and eat.
# Hari Raya Puasa
After 30 days of dawn-to-dusk fasting during Ramadan, the first three days of Hari Raya Aidilfitri are celebrated on a grand scale.
While Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations are colourful and fascinating, you should take note that the fasting month leading up to the holiday is probably the best time to experience the Malay culture and heritage.
For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is devoted to worship, charitable deeds and acts of compassion.
To purify one’s body and soul, they practice abstinence from food and drink during the day.
When the sun sets, families and friends often gather to break the fast with evening prayers and meals, and the streets of Geylang Serai and Kampong Glam come alive with performances and street bazaars.
If you’re in Singapore during Ramadan, this is the best times to soak in the festivities.
Deepavali, which literally means “row of lights,” is celebrated by Hindus across the world and is the most important festival in Hinduism.
Deepavali is the celebration of good over evil, and light overcoming darkness.
New clothes are worn during Deepavali and sweets and snacks are shared.
Some Indian communities also begin the financial year on Deepavali for auspicious reasons.
A traditional way to celebrate Deepavali in Singapore is to have your hands painted with henna art.
Henna is a flowering plant used to dye skin, hair, fingernails and even leather and wool. These temporary tattoos are often done for free by local artists.
Even though Singaporeans don’t get to experience the four seasons, much less snow, we definitely know when the season to be jolly.
Christmas in the Tropics is a month-long festival that takes the carnival to the streets in Singapore’s all-year round balmy, summer heat.
Feast your eyes on visual panoply of seasonal decorations, and we’re not just talking about the annual Christmas light up along shopping strip Orchard Road.
Shopping centres like Tangs and Takashimaya compete with each other every year with illuminating decorations that seem to creep magically from the ground level all the way up to the rooftop, while other major malls like Wisma Atria, Orchard Central and ION put on quite a show too.
Title: Festivals 2012 – Singapore
Date of Issue: 17 October 2012
Denominations: 1st Local x 4, 55c x 4