Grand shopping malls, luxury dine inns, graceful colonial buildings, and historic street marts amidst high rises – Singapore is sinfully famous for its sheen of wealth and glamor. Besides, the vibrant heritage and diverse ethnicities of the city-state celebrates its lives in the shades beyond imagination. Be prepared to get dazzled as we take you down the lane of popular festivals in Singapore.
1. New Year celebration
Entire Chinatown comes together for a fortnight, every year, in the middle of January and celebrates what is also known as the Lunar New year. During the Chinese new-year celebration, houses are cleaned and beautifully decorated. The malls and streets are dolled up with bright red and extravagant decorations.
Key attractions: Decorations, ornamented houses, stalls selling raw fish salad, night markets, and temples which open their doors for public entry
Don’t miss: Dragon Dance and Chingay parade at Marina Bay
When: Mid-January to mid-February
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Okay! Statutory warning first – the processions during this festival is not for the light-hearted. Sharp skewers pierced through tongues, cheeks and bodies as a practice of self-mortification, the devotees may send shivers down an onlooker’s spine. Celebrated in early February on the brightest moon night, Thaipusam worships lord Murugan and can be easily compared to the popular Thanksgiving festival.
Key attractions: Ornate, colorful frames – Kavadis being carried to the temples, sacrifices, and shoes during the processions
Don’t miss: The final stage of the procession, sweets that are distributed after being served as an offering to God
When: First or second week of February
Suggested Read: 10 Best Adventurous Activities In Singapore
3. Singapore Art Festival
A must for culture buffs, the Singapore Art Festival is home to ensembles, music, theater acts, international dances and art installations. With great talent to be seen and heard around for almost an entire month from May, it is among very few fests which celebrate such diverse range of art forms on one platform.
Key attractions: International film screenings, painting competitions, and nothing really is not an attraction if you have the right taste for art
Don’t miss: Street performances
When: May – June; you can sync your calendar from the official event calendar
4. Hari Raya
Among the other famous festivals in Singapore, this is the local version of Eid which is celebrated after the month-long fasting of Ramadaan. The Muslims in Singapore put on new clothes and begin their day by visiting the nearest mosque where they offer their prayers. Rest of the day is spent by visiting the friends and relatives.
Key attractions: The colorful streets, the festive attire, mouthwatering delicacies
Don’t miss: Decorated bazaar at the Sultan Mosque, breaking fast rituals at any mosque in the neighborhood
When: June- July
5. National Day
The nation celebrates its freedom from Malaysia on its National Day – the most popular among festivals in Singapore. Like all, it has a public display of its culture, heritage, defense, power, and diversity. Another special feature is the stunning display of fireworks on the eve of the day.
Key attractions: National Day rally and parade
Don’t miss: Fireworks at Marina Bay
When: August 9, every year
6. Singapore River Festival
Well, this one among the festivals in Singapore is about illusions on the river water. International artists and DJs spend a week here to ensure that the outdoor parties are grooved by all. Parades and performances along the river Singapore celebrate the origination of the country Singapore. The folk performances are a delight to watch.
Key attractions: Folk performances, optical illusions, and heritage shows
Don’t miss: The special 2015 Silver Jubilee celebration; get updates from the official Facebook page
When: October 23-25, 2015
Suggested Read: 13 Free Things To Do In Singapore We Bet You Didn’t Know About
7. The Lantern Festival
Also known as Mid-Autumn festival, Lantern festival is one of the most popular Singapore festivals. It celebrates the legend of Chang Er – the lady who, apparently floated to the moon after swallowing the elixir of eternal life and now resides on the moon.
Key attractions: Traditional dances, performing arts groups, stalls selling mooncakes
Don’t miss: Opening ceremony, and the beautifully decorated lantern in various shapes design
When: September, 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar
8. Spicy evenings for Deepavali
Indian connection, folks! Singapore celebrates Diwali like nobody does it outside India. Like India, Singapore celebrates it on the 15th day of the Kartik month. Interestingly, Singapore Deepawali lasts for a week. With vivid hues of warm golden lights, the Hindu community all over Singapore celebrates the festival spreading joy and cheer.
Key attractions: Fireworks, display of light, shops full of fragrant garlands, incense sticks, shopping
Don’t miss: Exquisite delicacies trying visiting a local’s home
When: November usually, 9th November in 2015
Lights! Camera! Christmas! Come mid-November and the streets of Singapore turn into one of the most enchanting fairylands at night. Thousands of glittering lights and bulbs drip down from decorated trees and arches while the roads dress up like they are going to host a carnival. Christmas in Singapore is the nicest way to end the year.
Key attractions: The Christmas carnival on the Orchard road, fantastic festive decorations where the malls try to outshine each other to win the popular ‘best-decorated mall’ award
Don’t miss: The street performances
When: Celebrations start from 15 December onwards
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