When traveling to a different country, tourists are often warned about culture shock. It can be disorienting, seeing a new perspective on life, being thrown into a new environment with new people. But it can also be eye-opening. Experiencing different cultures is often one of the top reasons as to why people travel, which makes annual culture festivals and events even more exciting: they offer a direct look at another country’s lifestyle and encourage you to break out of your shell just a bit.
Singapore annual cultural festivals are often influenced by the time of year you visit. But because Singapore is often viewed as a mixture of different cultures and races, one can easily find something taking place no matter when planning a trip!
From late winter to early spring, you can find yourself celebrating the Chinese New Year, River Hongbao, Changay parade and a Hindu festival. Chinese New Year is arguably the most popular amongst tourists, as it marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar and encourages reunion dinners as well as giving away ang bao, which are usually tiny, red bags full of money! River Hongbao is a part of the Chinese New Year: honoring the lunar calendar, this festival takes place by the Marina, setting off giant lanterns that display the animals of the Chinese Zodiac like the dog or rat. During the celebration there are also a lot of variety of activities and street shows.
Although May to mid-August may be a little sparser on the festivals in Singapore, sometimes the Chinese New Year celebrations do carry over with dragon boat races and celebration with traditional food such as dumplings. Aside from this, the Ramadan, usually in May or June, is a celebration where Muslims break their fast at sundown. For a month, this holiday encourages festivities such as selling special foods that can easily be purchased and consumed during this break in their fast.
From September to December there is a Mid-Autumn Festival. During this festival, there is a parade, where children carry lanterns and families gravitate toward popular places to eat food in celebration of the end of the harvest. In addition to this, there is also a Festival of Lights ceremony in November, known for its colorful festivities when Little India is decorated with lights and large displays. Christmas is also considered a celebration in December. In fact, seven weeks prior to Christmas Day, many of Singapore’s famous streets, such as Orchard Road, begin setting up for Light-Up and activities unfold each day: from singers to dancers and shopping deals, this is a truly festive time for the Christmas Spirit.
With a variety of different festivals going on year-long, it’s not hard to find something for everyone in the family to enjoy when visiting Singapore. From traditional holidays to religious holidays, to simply celebrating life, Singapore loves to incorporate its diverse culture into its festivities, making it one of the best places to experience different cultures first hand.