|Singapore - Event & Festivals
January / February
Chinese New Year takes place for 42 days during January or February, depending on the Chinese calendar. This is an exceptionally festive time for Singapore. If you plan on being here during that time, best to book your accommodation early. Festivities take place all over the city and include the spectacular Chingay Parade, music and dance performances, fireworks and a multitude of other parades.
Chingay Parade is a spectacular parade held in January or February along Orchard Road. This is Singapore's grandest street festival which celebrates the Chinese New Year with a Favorites include the stilt-walkers, lion dancers, samba dancers and floats.
Hari Raya Puasa on 19 January 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.
Thaipusam is held on 31 January at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and Sri Thandayuthapani Temple in Little India. A long, impressive procession of Hindu penitents carry 'kavadis' by piercing their bodies with hooks and barbs and marching from Serangoon Road to Tank Road. Thaipusam honours Lord Subramaniam, and on this Day of Atonement devotees offer thanks or fulfill vows to the deity.
Singapore River Hong Bao is usually held in February during several days in the beginning of the Chinese New Year. An extravaganza includes a variety show with top regional and local artists performing; complete with fireworks, merchant kiosks and hawker stalls.
March / April / May
Singapore Fashion Festival, held during March and April, offers an eye-opening preview to the season’s trendiest colors, 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 Festival.
Vesak is in April or May throughout Singapore. The life of Buddha is celebrated on Vesak Day 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.
Qing Ming Festival is held at the crack of dawn on 5 April. Temples fill 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 family togetherness.
May / June
Dragon Boat Race is held in May or June at Marina Bay. 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.
Singapore Arts Festival, held in June, is an 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 Singapore.
Dumpling Festival, held in June, is one of the most important Chinese festivals in Singapore. 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.
Arts In The Park is held throughout July when musical and theatre performances take place in Singapore's beautifully landscaped parks. Enjoy music ranging from Chinese Orchestra to Percussion to Choir and exhilarating theatre performances.
Singapore Food Festival takes place in July at various venues. This festival is a melting pot of tantalizing cuisine; Chinese, Indians Malay and more are all represented. Participate in the opening celebrations from 2 to 4 July at Parco Bugis Junction where an entire air-conditioned street will be converted into a giant buffet. "A Taste of Asia" Asian cuisine will jointly present at several hotels, from 2 to 10 July.
Great Singapore Sale, held May through July, has many stores offering spectacular mark-downs and special discounts.
August / September
National Day is celebrated on 9 August with great pomp and pageantry. The National Day Parade promises a fun-filled occasion complete with cultural dances and fireworks galore.
Hungry Ghosts Festival takes place in August or usually September. The Chinese believe this is a time when the souls of the dead roam the earth, causing people burn incense in order to be blessed and not to be disturbed by the spirits. Chinese opera performances and offerings of food are dedicated to the spirits.
Lantern Festival is held twice a year throughout Chinatown and the Chinese Garden. It occurs during the full moon of the Chinese New Year; and again on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon is full (September or October). The highlight of the festival is the Mooncake Fair 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 / November
Deepavali is a very important Hindu holiday held in the Hindu month of Aipasi, which is between the solar months of October and November. Little India's streets and temples are festooned with lights and garlands while crowds pack the Sri Mariamman Temple 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 usually begins at 4pm. 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.
Gods Festival takes place during Aipasi (October or November) at 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.
Singapore River Buskers' Festival usually takes place in November. Talented street performers from around the world gather on the walkways of Orchard Road, along the Singapore riverbank and Marina Bay for this festival. Spectators can enjoy fantastic street theatre, comedians, contortionists, magicians, mimes, sword-swallowers and jugglers, all set against the glittering backdrop of the city.
Christmas is celebrated throughout Singapore and the whole city decorates its shops and streets to celebrate the occasion.
Singapore River Fiesta makes the city’s waterway come alive during this fiesta. The event features a calendar of exciting activities all held at the nation's historic river.
- New Year's Day (January 1)
- Chinese New Year (January or February)
- Hari Raya Puasa (January)
- Hari Raya Haji (March)
- Good Friday (April)
- Labour Day (May 1)
- Vesak Day (May 29)
- National Day (August 9)
- Deepavali (November)
- Christmas (December 25)