Singapore festivals and events Guide
January or February
Chinese New Year starts of the year according to the Chinese calendar.
The colour red is prominently displayed as the Chinese believe it's a
lucky colour. The children and younger generation receive ang pows which
are red packets containing money. You can catch a lion dance performance
at various venues. Multi-colored lights and bright decorations light up
Chinatown along Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road Chinese New Year.
January or February
Venue: Orchard Road
Singapore's grandest street festival celebrates the Chinese Lunar New
Year with a parade down Orchard Road. Favorites include the stilt-walkers,
lion dancers and floats.
Signals the end of Ramadan with three days of celebrations in January
or February.During Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, vendor stalls sell
food in the Arab Street district near the Sultan Mosque after sunset.
31st January Venue: Sri
Srinivasa Perumal Temple and Sri Thandayuthapani Temple
Thaipusam honors Lord Subramaniam, and on this day of atonement devotees
offer thanks or fulfill vows to the deity. A long procession of Hindu
penitents carry 'kavadis', pierced their bodies with hooks and barbs,
marches from Serangoon Road to Tank Road.
This annual Lunar New Year extravaganza features a variety show with top
regional and local artists performing. Complete with fireworks, merchant
kiosks and hawker stalls.
March Venue: Various
An important religious occasion for Muslims who spend the day in prayer
to commemorate the Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca. After the morning prayer,
sheep and goats are ritually slaughtered and the meat is distributed to
This Festival offers an eye-opening preview to the seasons trendiest
colours, fabrics and styles through a series of exciting fashion shows
and exhibitions, as well as product launches. Shop in between the visual
feasts and take advantage of the promotions held in conjunction with the
With over 40 food and lifestyle events rolled into one, this annual culinary
showdown is truly where the world comes to feast! Tantalise
your taste buds with mouth-watering cuisines as restaurants, shopping
malls, hotels and some of Singapores favourite attractions dish
out a melting pot of traditional and contemporary creations hailing from
the East and West.
April or May Venue: Island-wide
The life of Buddha is celebrated on Vesak Day in April or May and caged
birds are released to symbolize the liberation of captive souls. Celebrations
are carried out at all Buddhist temples where monks commemorate their
Lord Buddha's entry into Nirvana by chanting holy sutras and releasing
captive birds. Good locations to watch the festivities include Buddhist
Lodge at River Valley Road, Thai Buddhist Temple at Jalan Bukit Merah
and Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple at Jalan Toa Payoh.
April At the
crack of dawn, temples throng with Chinese believers offering prayers
in remembrance of the deceased. Observe the day's rituals as families
burn joss sticks and incense, and prepare a delectable feast for their
ancestors. Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple at Sin Ming Avenue is an
excellent place to experience this annual ceremony of filial piety and
May to July
At a coordinated island this is a wide extravaganza. The Great Singapore
Sale has many stores offering spectacular mark-downs and special discounts.
May or June Venue:
The Singapore World Invitational Dragon Boat Races commemorate the death
of a famous poet who drowned himself to protest political corruption.
Teams from around the world compete for honours. The ' 99 Festival will
be held at Marina Bay, the race course will start at Nicoll Highway Bridge
and end at Benjamin Sheares Bridge.
Don't miss this eclectic mix of dance, drama and music from around the
world. Also keep an eye out for the fringe events held at venues all around
One of the most important Chinese festivals in Singapore is the Dumpling
Festival. You will find the widest array of dumplings and glutinous rice
desserts on sale in the longest Dumpling Fair ever, which include lion
dances, Chinese orchestra performance, Chinese opera and even a karaoke
evening. Don't miss the celebration highlight come to Albert Mall and
join in the festivity where teams of rollerblades dressed as dragons race
down and clear obstacles along the mall.
Several times a month, musical and theatre performances are held in Singapore's
beautifully landscaped parks. Enjoy music ranging from Chinese Orchestra
to Percussion to Choir and exhilarating theatre performances.
July is dedicated to food. Eateries go all out in promoting the island
as a food paradise. Nowhere else can you find such an amazing variety
of food in one place. The Singapore Food Festival is the melting pot for
tantalizing cuisine's of the Chinese, Indians, Malays and more. Participate
in the opening celebrations from 2 to 4 July at Parco Bugis Junction where
an entire air-conditioned street will be converted to a giant buffet stretch.
"A Taste of Asia" Asian cuisine will jointly present at several
hotels, from 2 to 10 July.
Join the country as she celebrates the National Day with pomp and pageantry.
The annual National Day Parade in august promises a fun-filled occasion
complete with cultural dances and fireworks galore.
August or September
The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is usually observed in September, when
the souls of the dead roam the earth, people burn incense in order to
be blessed and not to be disturbed by the spirit. Chinese opera performances
and offerings of food are dedicated to the spirits.
September or October
A grand lantern display is the highlight of this traditional mid-Autumn
celebration. Particularly striking at night, the Chinese Garden becomes
a fairyland of lights and colors. Lion and dragon dances including cultural
shows, Chinese instrumentalists, craftsmen and variety shows. Children
receive free lanterns each evening, while stocks last. From 9 am - 10
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar
month, when there's full moon at its brightest and most enchanting. The
highlight of the festival will be the Mooncake Fair in Chinatown where
street-stalls offer an amazing variety of mooncakes and other products
such as ornamental lanterns, fruits, pastries and souvenirs. The most
catching sight is the Children's Lantern Parade, with hundreds of children
parading down the streets of Chinatown with their colourful lanterns.
October or November
Venue: Nine Emperor Gods Temple, Upper Serangoon Road (near the junction
of Yio Chu Kang Road)
The Nine Emperor Gods are believed to cure ailments and bestow good fortune
and longevity when they visit earth during the nine days of this festival.
Priests write charms with their blood and at the climax of the celebrations,
images of the nine gods are paraded, each in a decorative sedan chair
carried by eight men.
November Venue: Little
The Hindu Festival of Light celebrates the victory of good over evil and
light over darkness. Temples and homes are lit up at night as special
delicacies are cooked up for the occasion.
August to November
Some of the best street performers from all over the world visit to entertain
Singapore in this street show extravaganza. Let jugglers and mime artistes
thrill you with their antics and street comedians tickle your funny bone.
Venue: Kusu Island
Kusu Island, off Singapore's southern coast, is sacred to both Taoists
and Muslims. According to legend, a turtle once turned itself into an
island Kusu Island, to save two fishermen -- a Chinese, and a Malay, when
their boat capsized.
The men lived in harmony and became sworn brothers. Taoists make a yearly
pilgrimage to the Tua Pekong Temple during the ninth lunar month. A Malay
shrine nearby is also usually bedecked with offerings.
Venue: Sri Mariamman Temple. The Hindu fire-walking festival, is celebrated
at Sri Mariamman Temple in October. Little India's streets and temples
are festooned with lights and garlands for Deepavali, the Hindu Festival
of Lights in October or November. Crowds pack the Sri Mariamman Temple
on South Bridge road, to watch the barefoot Hindu devotees walk across
a pit of red hot embers without showing any signs of pain. Festival celebrations
begin at 2am and the fire-walking takes place at 5pm. It is advised to
get to the temple early to obtain a good vantage point. Temple etiquette
requires visitors to be dressed appropriately, and shoes must be removed
at the door.
December This Christian
festival is celebrated throughout Singapore and the whole city decorates
its shops and streets to celebrate the occasion.
The Singapore River comes alive during this fiesta. The event features
a calendar of exciting activities all held at the nation's historic waterway.
Westerners should keep in mind that there are indeed several calendars
actively in use. For example, here are 11 public holidays in Singapore:
New Year's Day (January 1)
Chinese New Year (January or February)
Good Friday (April)
Labor Day (May 1)
Vesak Day May 29)
National Day (August 9)
Christmas (December 25)
Hari Raya Puasa (January)
Hari Raya Haji (March)
These include three secular holidays, New Year's Day, Labour Day and National
Day, and eight religious/racial holidays: Two Chinese, two Islamic, two
Indian and two Christian. Christmas falls on a fixed date in the Gregorian
calendar, but the other seven traditional holidays are movable.