Major Festivals and Events In Singapore

Singapore’s diverse ethnicity and religions are easily discernible in the sheer number of festivals and celebration held in the country every year. Singapore major festivals include ethnic and religious events such as the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Deepavali. The cultural highlights include Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, and Singapore Food Festival. National Day, the commemoration of the country’s independence, is also a big event.

Singapore has a perpetually sunny climate all year round which makes it possible for its numerous festivals to be held outdoors regardless of the time of the year.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Singaporeflickr/Nestor Lacle

The Chinese New Year is celebrated in Singapore between January and February every year. Singapore is home to a large Chinese population and Chinese New Year is the country biggest festival. In the several weeks leading up to the festival, celebration are held all over the island, but are mainly centered in Chinatown with music, street lighting, and massive street market selling where traditional Chinese goodies are sold. Events closely associated with this festival include Chingay Parade of Dreams, and the River Hing Bao fair.

Hari Raya Puasa

Singapore Hari Rayaflickr/YL Tan

The Hari Raya Puasa festival is celebrated in autumn between the months of September and October. Hari Raya Puasa is a Malay name for Eid IL Fitr, the Muslim holiday that celebrates the end of month-long fasting-Ramadan. The Muslim areas of Kampong Glam and Geyland Serai come alive with street lighting, mouth-watering array of traditional Malay food, bustling roadside bazaars. Haro Raya Haji, a mini-festival that is marks the end of the Haj pilgrimage is held in December.


Singapore Deepavaliflickr/David Sifry

Deepavali is the Tamil name for Diwali. Also called the Festival of Lights, Diwali is major Hindu festival celebrated by the Hindu, Sikhs, and Jains all over the world. In Singapore Deepavali is celebrated in October in Little India or Farrer Park to commemorate the triumph of good over evil. Hindu families offer prayers at local temples with a profusion of candles, oil lamps and fairy lights. The heart of Little India, Serangoon Road, is abuzz with street decorations and lighting and evening roadside bazaars.

The Lantern Festival

Singapore Lantern Festivalflickr/epSos .de

This is another popular festival in the Singapore, according to the Chinese calendar. Since it entails the use of lanterns with different lighting schemes, they arrange it according to the weather. The festival is held during the autumn season, when the weather can accommodate the use of lanterns. Moreover, the lantern festival is best known for its accommodation of couples on honeymoon, and it is accompanied with many honeymoon packages. The epicenter of this celebration is the Chinatown, with a congregation of smiling locals and a number of Chinese temples. People are encouraged to fix little lanterns at home as an adornment for the festival. The lanterns look beautiful after sunset and people gather outside to watch their dim lights.

International Film Festival

Singapore International Film Festival

The Singapore International Film Festival is celebrated in April in multiple venues throughout the country and is the country’s longest-running cultural event. This is an international event that celebrates and showcases local, regional, and foreign films outside the multiplex. As many as 300 international features, documentaries, and animations are showcased during the festival.

Singapore Arts Festival

Singapore Arts Festivalflickr/Z.A.D

Singapore Arts Festival is held between May and June in various venues in Singapore. This is a month-long arts extravaganza that brings together a mind-boggling array of mainstream as well as experimental music, theatre, dance, and other regional and international acts. The festival is organized by the National Arts Council.

Singapore Food Festival

Singapore Food Festivalflickr/VasenkaPhotography

The Singapore Food Festival celebrates yet another national obsession in Singapore-eating and talking about food. The festival is marked by chef competitions, street stalls selling heritage dishes, cookery demos and workshops and so on. It’s really a great time to explore the country’s numerous gastronomic offerings.

Vesak Day

Vesak Day Singaporewikimedia/Timo Sippala

Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day to mark the birth of Lord Gautama Buddha. Singaporean Buddhists pay their visits to various Buddhist temples to offer prayers and worship. Monks donned in saffron-colored clothing sprinkle holy water on the devotees and chant various blessings. Monks released doves from cages to signify freedom from worldly bondages.

Great Singapore Sale

Great Singapore Saleflickr/Craige Moore

Great Singapore Sale is celebrated between May and July. Malls, department stores and boutiques offer huge discounts ranging from cursory ones to really crazy ones. Late-night shopping events are held during weekends.

Dragon Boat Festival

Singapore Dragon Boat Festivalflickr/Graham Hills

Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in June in Bedok. This is a very old festival-2,000 years old—and is held on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet who drowned himself in protest to the rampant corruption that riddled the country. Fishermen tried in vain to rescue Qu Yuan. People threw glutinous meat and rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves (bah chang) into the river to distract the fish and prevent them from eating his body. Local and international teams race boats on Bedok Reservoir to commemorate the event while numerous bah chang are sold throughout the island.

There are many other national and local festivals held in Singapore to celebrate various events throughout the year. Indeed hardly a month goes without one or two major festivals being held in Singapore.