- Written by Christine Flor
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Chinese New Year
31 January and 1 February 2014
The heart of the Chinese New Year festivities is, of course, Chinatown with more than 500 stalls selling traditional foods and various Chinese New Year goods at the sprawling bazaar. Nightly cultural performances are also held at the River Ang Pow event at Marina Promenade. Do note that most stores are closed on Chinese New Year.
Venues: Chinatown, Floating Platform at Marina Bay (River Ang Pow) and Sentosa
7 & 8 February 2014
Due to its popularity, there are now two spectacles over the weekend for this annual night street parade. See dazzling floats, dances, acrobatic performances and more in a mesmerising blaze of colours and lights.
Venue: Formula 1 Pit Building
17 January 2014
Devotees go on a street procession carrying a heavy steel or wooden arc (kavadi) that is pierced through and supported by the devotee’s back as an act of devotion, thanksgiving or penance to Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity.
Venue: Serangoon Road
13 May 2014
A date commemorating the birth and enlightenment of Buddha, devotees gather to witness the ritualistic bathing of Buddha’s statue. Temples are decorated with flowers and lights, and mass candlelight processions are held.
Venues: Various Buddhist temples including Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple, Siong Lim Temple, The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum & Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
Dragon Boat Festival
5 & 6 July 2014 (TBC)
When the famed Chinese poet Qu Yuan drowned himself, triangular dumplings were said to have been thrown into the river to stop the fish from eating his body. The villagers were also said to have beaten the river water with their oars, giving rise to the dragon boat race tradition. The triangular dumplings are sold widely during this period of time and a dragon boat race is held at Kallang River.
Venues: Kallang River & Bedok Reservoir
Hari Raya Adilfitri
28 July 2014
Also known as Hari Raya Puasa, this Muslim festival marks the end of Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting and abstinence. Colourfully lit stalls packed with festive goods and traditional clothes at bazaars will be open from early afternoon till late into the night.
Venue: Geylang Serai
National Day Parade
9 August 2014
Commemorating Singapore’s independence from Malaysia, the National Day Parade is highlighted by firework displays, performances and colourful costumes. Joining the parade, in a demonstration of unity are the members of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and representatives of various unions. The Parade brings together Singaporeans from all walks of life in a harmonious celebration of an independent and progressive Singapore.
Venue: The Float at Marina Bay
8 September 2014
Commonly known as the Mooncake festival because of the moon-shaped pastries sold during this period, the Mid-Autumn Festival commemorates both the legend of the lady on the moon, Chang’e, and the folk tale of peasants overthrowing a tyrannical government by communicating via hidden messages in mooncakes. Many children go on walks with paper or plastic lanterns after dark and the Lantern Festival at the Chinese Gardens showcases many colourful lanterns.
Venues: Chinese Gardens & Chinatown
Hari Raya Haji
5 October 2014
This Muslim festival commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son in the name of God. A day of sacrifice and charity, Muslims make every effort to see that no one remains hungry on this holy day by distributing food to the poor via various charities.
Venue: Mosques around the island
23 October 2014 (TBC)
The Festival of Lights celebrates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana. In Little India, shops and streets are lavishly decorated with lights, garlands and arches. Not only will Little India host a range of cultural performances, there will also be events like the Heritage and Craft Exhibition.
Venue: Little India
25 December 2014
As Orchard Road gears up for the festive season, not only do stores start offering Christmas specials but the roads get lit up. Many malls decorate their façades too, bringing Christmas cheer to the tropics. Keep an eye out for remarkable decorations like the 16m tall Christmas tree.
Venue: Orchard Road