Category: Travel

Experiencing Culture Firsthand: Annual Festivals in Singapore

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.

Tips for People Moving to Singapore

Singapore is a city-state that has a great amount of charm to it. It’s an Asian city that is clean, efficient, and still holds some of the beauty from its British colonial days. Singapore is situated at the southern tip of Malaysia, allowing to develop into an important finance and trade centers. Thanks to all of these features, people are flocking to move to the beautiful city.

Singapore as an Expat Destination

Expats love to move to Singapore and have moved there in large numbers. It’s largely regarded as one of the easiest cities in Asia for expats to fit into. It’s a great place for foreigners to get acquainted with a culture that is not their own.

It’s an attractive place to move to get a good education and to raise a family. There’s a strong sense of security and low home prices, which is very attractive for those wanting to start a family. The standard of living is high, and it has healthcare facilities that are second to none in the world. Thanks to the large number of expats that do come to Singapore, many who move there are able to find clubs and groups of other expats.

The biggest con that an expat in Singapore might is that information broadcasted on TV and through the media is censored by the government. However, this obstacle is easy to overcome. You can purchase broadcast services that will allow you to see media outside of Singapore.

Cost of Living

Singapore has a high standard of living, but it comes at a steep price. It’s known as one of the most expensive places to live. Property taxes, taxes on alcohol, and taxes imposed on vehicles are all extremely high. However, this can all be manageable if you’re willing to give up certain luxuries, like going out to bars and owning a vehicle. Overall, groceries are reasonably priced. You can also find affordable places to eat, like the local hawker stalls and mall food courts.

Language

You’ll find that the official language of Singapore is Mandarin Chinese, but the most common language spoken is English. It’s used primarily for trade and business. Children usually are usually taught English in school, but they also learn Mandarin. Other languages you’ll hear in Singapore include Cantonese, Tamil, and Malay.

Moving to Singapore: Expat Career Opportunities

While there are many opportunities available for people who are very experienced, competition is fierce. If you’re not transferring with your company to Singapore, you should definitely have a job lined up before you move.

A large portion of jobs available to expats in Singapore is in finance and banking. You can also find a few opportunities in the electronics industry, shipping, or information technology.

It’s important to note that a foreign spouse, looking to work in Singapore, can’t do so without a valid employment pass. This process is different than many other countries so it’s something you need to know before moving there.

The Bottom Line

Living in Singapore as an expat can be very rewarding. Before deciding to move there, you want to make sure that you do thorough research. Have all of your plans figured out and lined up before going.