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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Must See Cultural Festivals in Singapore – Experience Ethnic Cultures
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Must See Cultural Festivals in Singapore – Experience Ethnic Cultures

Singapore is well known for its diverse cultures, traditions and customs influenced by the assorted ethnic groups lending heaps of colourful experiences to the nation. Check out these top festivals.


Relish Pongal

Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival; which is held to honour the Sun God, Surya. It is Singapore's 'Little India' that thrives at this time of year with many activities to mark the four day celebrations of Pongal. If you love experiencing exotic new cultures do head over to this precinct for treats of cultural dances, vivid performances, miniature road-side villages that offer a range of souvenirs, cooking competitions and the very impressive festival light-up, which is nothing short of spectacular.


The Extreme Festival of Thaipusam

Not a festival for the faint of heart, but definitely for those of you seeking the exotic, this Hindu festival which takes place along Serangoon Road and Tank Road, in Little India is quite a spectacle. Watch as Hindu devotees walk along the procession carrying little alters called kavadi's attached to their torsos via spikes that literally spear the flesh. The act is a show of devotion, to 'The Protector', Lord Subramaniam. These extremist devotees, manage the daredevil feats by fasting and praying about 48 days before the festival. If you are staying at Park Hotel Clarke Quay, Little India is within a 20 minute- drive from the property; in fact, Clarke Quay hotels, Singapore offer some of the most popular accommodation options from which to catch the many festivities and performances that take place in both Little India and Chinatown, which is nearby as well.


The Vibrant Chinese New Year

Another festival that sees China Town explode in a multitude of colours, performances and festivities, the Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar. Another celebration that's easy to catch from Clarke Quay hotels, this 14 day feast is centred around getting rid of bad luck and welcoming good vibes. It is a very family oriented festival, with many traditions, such as the exchange of the orange mandarins as symbols of wealth and prosperity and the distribution of 'red packets' amongst the children. Do make sure to head over to China Town within this time and feast on the traditional snacks, buy souvenirs and simply absorb the colourful customs, vibes and traditions.


Vesak Day to Honour the Buddha

A Buddhist festival that is steeped in serene traditions, Vesak is held in honour of the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. It is a time of prayer and reflection, a time when oil lamps are lit and holy chants are heard at the temples, welcoming devotees and the lighting of fragrant josh sticks. Vesak is also a time of obtaining merit, where alms are given to the poor and caged birds are bought and set free.


The Vivacious Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival takes place across the globe, within the many Chinese communities. If you are in Singapore, on the 5th day of the 5th month, head over to the Bedok Reservoir and enjoy the rush of watching dragon boats compete against each other. Watch in excitement as crews, paddle with all their might, to the infectious beat of drums, and try to be the first to reach the finish line.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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