In here we’re show you 10 festivals in Singapore. Singapore is a country where ‘east meets west’. The Lion City’s culture is vast, as it includes both Asian and European cultures. Singapore has many areas divided by ethnicity of people like Little India and Chinatown. Singapore’s culture is so vast that the country has four official languages. Being a peace-loving country, it has attracted many immigrants over the years due to its full respect for human rights and equality. Therefore, there is no doubt that there are many events and festivals in Singapore that are celebrated with zest and zeal.
01. River Hongbao
River Hongbao is one event during every Chinese Lunar New Year that Singaporeans and tourists really look forward to. The River Hongbao is usually held at The Float at Marina Bay, overlooking the splendid Marina waterfront area, as well as a panoramic view of Singapore’s skyline.
The large premises are decorated with auspicious Chinese characters during this period, such as the twelve zodiac animals. In the evening, the whole venue lights up in a beautiful myriad of colours, and visitors will be able to catch performances by performing troupes or singing groups. And the best part, admission is free for all.
02. Chinese New Year (China Town)
Gong Xi Fa Cai! (May the New Year bring you fortune and good luck!) Prepare yourself to be immersed in a sea of red and golden hues, as Singapore’s Chinatown takes the lead in ushering in the traditional Chinese New Year! Witness the street markets coming to life with goodies such as decorative ornaments on sale; and be prepared to queue for hours for the yummy New Year snack ‘bah kwa’ (barbecued sliced pork).
The crowds thicken by the day as the city counts down to the party – and it is the only time of the year that the authorities allow the use of firecrackers in Singapore. It’s definitely worth the jostle to experience the festive flavour upfront, and the crowd favourite which has to be the unique New Year lanterns, which represent the animal zodiac of the Chinese New Year.
03. i Light Marina Bay
Singapore’s city skyline is most beautiful when night falls and the building lights twinkle, but it becomes even more spectacular when the area surrounding Marina Bay is lit up with various creative light installations for iLight Marina Bay.
It makes for a fun evening out for friends and families to enjoy the festival’s programmes while taking in the iconic night scene that includes Singapore tourist highlights like the Esplanade, Floating Platform, Helix Bridge, Marina Bay and the Promenade. Viewing the installations is free, though special events have their own fees; be prepared for the crowds and to walk a lot as that is the best way to enjoy the light installations.
04. Singapore Night Festival
Staying in Singapore over the last two weekends of August? You’ll be in for a visual treat at the Singapore Night Festival. What’s there to do in darkness? Plenty, as an extravaganza of performances and artworks that make use of light are dispersed in Singapore’s premier art precinct, Bra Basah-Bugis.
Most museums in the neighbourhood are also open for free until late at night, hosting local and overseas talents. Do not miss the display show that is screened on the facade of the National Museum – it’s usually playful and thought-provoking, plus the fact that it’s projected onto an iconic national monument is incredibly impressive!
05. Chingay Parade
If you are in Singapore during the Chinese New Year period, the Chingay Parade is an annual event you must not miss. Chingay means ‘the art of costume and masquerade’ in the Hokkien dialect.
The parade is an annual celebration, where different groups and races come together to put on a colourful display. Expect to witness colourful floating platforms and street performers in fanciful costumes, from the largest street performance and float parade in Asia.
Thaipusan is a yearly celebrated Hindu festival where over 50,000 people crowd the streets of Singapore in a colorful and lively two-day procession, bringing any and all traffic to a dead halt. The festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Murugan, also known as Lord Subramaniam, who signifies power, youth, and virtue, and is the demolisher of evil.
Hindi devotees seek out blessings, offer thanks and attempt to fulfil their dutiful vows by carrying milk pots which symbolize fertility and abundance, and wooden kavadis – a semi-circular wooden or steel decorated frame that acts as a ceremonial sacrifice. Many devotees also pierce their bodies and tongues with steel skewers and rods creating quite the spectacle for onlookers. For anyone who is keen to get a closer look at a Hindu celebration, cultural enthusiasts or photographers, Thaipusan is unmissable.
07. Mid-Autumn Festival
Singapore’s Chinese population, which makes up 76% of the total population in Singapore, means the mid-autumn festival is a major celebration. Mid-autumn festival is a harvest festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with a full moon.
Around the Mid-Autumn Festival, lanterns and festivities are scattered around the city. Chinatown joins in with a mass lantern walk, fireworks, and a bazaar. Gardens by the Bay also boasts impressive lantern sets including a floating lantern, cultural performances, and a food street.
Festival-goers can also bop over to the Sun Yat-Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall for the annual Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival, which this year includes a glow-in-the-dark art installation “Moonflowers in Mid-Autumn” on the front lawn.
08. Vesak Day
Traditional chanting, candlelight processions and offerings are how our Buddhist community observe Vesak Day. Commemorating Buddha’s life and enlightenment, observers will spend time reflecting on life and performing good deeds in their community.
They may also spend hours chanting or releasing caged animals to symbolise liberation. Find your zen by visiting one of the many Buddhist temples, such as the Kong Men San Phor Kark See and Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monasteries.
09. Dragon Boat Festival
Crowds munching on sticky rice dumplings (zongzi) will be streaming to this exciting event that originated in China over 2,000 years ago and now takes place in Chinese communities all over the globe.
A festival of many names, it’s also known as Duanwu, Tuen Ng and Double Fifth Festival (falling on the fifth day of the fifth month). Head to Bedok Reservoir for the prestigious Dragon Boat Racing Festival, where competing teams will paddle furiously to the finish line in time with the intense beat of drums.
This breathtaking fire-walking ceremony occurs in October at the Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge Road. Male devotees sprint barefoot across glowing coals, without any apparent injury to their feet, in honour of Draupathi, a legendary heroine deified by South Indian Tamils.
On the eve of the festival a magnificent silver chariot honouring Draupathi makes its way from this temple to the Srinavasa Temple in Little India.