While the most anticipated annual event that has put Singapore on the global radar was the Singapore F1 Grand Prix, we take a quick look at some of the most colourful cultural festivals you wouldn’t want to miss when you’re visiting Singapore.
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While you’re obviously not going to get snow here, the glittering Christmas lights and decorations along Orchard Road will definitely keep you captivated during the festive season.
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Halloween gets bigger and better every year, with parties starting around town from the weekend leading up to 31 October. But it’s not just the parties that get all the attention, the biggest and most attractive Halloween event happens at Universal Studios, Resorts World Sentosa. First started in 2011, Halloween Horror Nights 3 makes a horror comeback over 10 nights in October and November, with three haunted houses for a full theatrical scare fest.
Check out some of the best Halloween parties in Singapore here.
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This is one of our favourite events of the year simply for the visual spectacle that awaits you as the Hindu devotees start the 4.5 kilometre walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road. This tradition takes place in the wee hours of the morning. Some devotees pierce their tongues with skewers and carry garlanded wooden arch across their shoulders.
A little trivia about devotees carrying the spiked Kavadis: A month of spiritual preparation is needed prior to Thaipusam, where the devotee must live a life of abstinence and maintain a strict vegetarian diet in order to free the mind of material wants and the body from physical pleasures. With that belief, the devotee will be able to undertake this sacred task without feeling any pain.
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The Spring Festival is also the one most significant occasions for the Chinese community, and it’s no different here in Singapore with the Chinese being the majority of this multi-racial society. But while celebrations don’t last all 15 days of the first Lunar calendar month, you’ll see the whole city lit up in a sea of red lights and decorations. The focal point of this celebration is Chinatown, where you’d expect to see dragon and lion dance tropes, decorated street lights and rows of street side stalls selling new year decorations and gifts.
The River Hongbao, held on the Marina Bay Floating Platform, is also a gathering point during the festive season, with street performances, shopping and games stalls, lanterns and fireworks for a visit after reunion dinners and house visiting.
Red packets and new clothing aside, Chinese New Year marks the symbolic beginning of a new year.
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Chingay, a Hokkien dialect for “the art of costume and masquerade”, coincides with Chinese New Year, with processions of over 2,000 performers from all over the world gyrating to Samba music. This “Mardi Gras of the East” has become an annual event since the 1990s, lighting up the streets of Orchard Road to City Hall at night with intricate light and pyrotechnics display.
This massive street parade of dancers, street floats, jugglers, percussionists, lion and dragon dancers, clowns and acrobats are just some acts you’d expect to see. Chingay happens over the course of a few weekends in February, with a spectacular display of fireworks at the end of the parade.