How To Celebrate At Singapore Festivals

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Despite its stoic buildings and busy streets, Singapore makes a point of celebrating its diversity in ethnicity, race, religion and culture. If you flip through history books of Singapore, you will probably see old photos of the river banks filled with people from all walks of life. There were native Malays, coolies from China, traders from India, Arab and neighboring countries, as well as the European colonialists and many more. With its strategic location at the tip of the peninsula of Malaysia and free port policy, Singapore was a popular stopover for ships traveling to or from China and India. This diverse make up of Singapore grew into a multiracial society as this island blossomed into a thriving city-state. As a sign of respect to the different communities that make up Singapore, some 10 annual festivals are celebrated in Singapore.

Visit Singapore around late January to February and the chances are you will be greeted with shops and buildings decked in red banners, lanterns and pictures of oranges. The Chinese New Year or Spring festival is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrating the beginning of the new year according to the Lunar calendar. Take a walk down Chinatown during this season to get the best deals in Chinese decorations and snacks. Keep an eye out for the lion dance where dancers mimic the movements of a lion in a long trail of lion costumes to the vibrant beat of drums and cymbals. These dancers will move from shop to shop to wish good luck, prosperity and longevity for the upcoming year as part of the New Year festival celebrations in Singapore.

The Muslims in Singapore, with Malays making up the majority of them, celebrate two main festivals namely Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid ul-Fitr, or commonly called Aidilfitri, it signifies the end of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast with the hope to cleanse their body and soul. Throughout Ramadan, you will be able to get exclusive bargains on carpets, table tops, cushions, plastic flowers, accessories and the delectable spread of street food if you take a walk down Geylang Serai. The annual bazaar set up just for Ramadan is always buzzing with auctions, shows and performances. The second Islamic celebration, Eid al-Adha or Aidiladha, means the Festival of Sacrifice. It commemorates Abraham’s obedience to God to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. God accepted his willingness as true submission and replaced a ram to be sacrificed instead. During Aidiladha, Muslim pilgrims perform the Hajj at Mecca.

Deepavali or the Festival of Lights is a significant event for the Hindus. If you are a fan of Slumdog Millionaire or the Bollywood movies, you must take a trip down Little India during this season. Experience for yourself the captivating beauty of lights that illuminate the entire stretch of Serangoon Road. Take this opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Indian community in Singapore. You may want to purchase a sari (a female garment) or a kurta (loose shirt) at a bargain price and bask in the festivities of the Indian celebration. You may also want to pay a visit to the Sri Veeramakaliamman temple there and observe the praying rituals of the Hindus.

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