Traditional Festivals in Singapore

Singapore is a multinational country, divided mainly into four ethnic groups. Among them, the Chinese account for the largest proportion, accounting for more than 70% of the population. The remaining ethnic groups are Malay, Indian, Eurasian and mixed ethnicity. As a nation with cultural and historical diversity, various traditional festivals are indispensable. Here, Top Asia Tour lists some of the most famous festivals in Singapore for reference.


In addition, the festival periods in Singapore are also the best time for tourism, in which you will have the opportunity to have a spectacular experience.


View of Clarke Pier

View of Clarke Pier



According to the Tamil calendar, Pongal Festival is to celebrate the arrival of the Thai moon in mid-January. This is a major festival of the Indians. On that day, the Indians will cook the fresh milk and rice in a new clay pot, then add the ingredients like ginger, turmeric, brown sugar, cashew nuts, raisins and ghee. While waiting for the boil to overflow, the whole family will cheer for "Pongal", which means "to boil and overflow", symbolizing the overflow of the treasure. This is the traditional way for Singaporeans to celebrate the Pongal with national characteristics.


The festival celebration generally lasts 4 days. The first day is called "Bhogi Pongal" and first worship Indra, the God in charge of prosperity and rain. The second day is called "Surya Pongal" that is the day to worship Dio del Sol with delicious milk soup with rice. The third day is called "Mattu Pongal", and it is the day to worship the divine bull. In Hinduism, the bull is sacred. The last day is called "Kannum Pongal", and it is a day for people to strengthen their relationship with families and communities. The younger generations of the family will pay tribute to the older ones.


Pongal Festival

Pongal Festival


Recommended Places for the Pongal Festival Celebration

  • Campbell Alley, located in Little India, turns into a pedestrian mini tribe these days. Various stalls are distributed in the tribe, selling festival souvenirs. There are also Pongal festival-themed shows every day.


  • Kinta Road: you can admire the dances with ethnic characteristics, experience the gastronomy parties of the locals. The street is illuminated, decorated with various Pongal festival themed decorations such as pots, reeds, and bulls.


Deepavali Festival

The Deepavali Festival, known as "Diwali" in Indian, is the day when Hindu believers celebrate the victory of justice over evil. It is a major national cultural festival in Singapore. On this day, thousands of Hindu families in Singapore lighted warm yellow oil lamps in their homes and together offered Lakshmi, the auspicious Goddess in charge of fertility and prosperity. The gods of heaven prayed and blessed. At the same time, they gave each other gifts and shared a meal feast together.


On the eve of the festival, Hindu families flooded Little India from all over the island, entering the lively market built along the street. They focus on shopping while at the same time not forgetting to take pictures on the streets. In the month after Deepavali, these magnificent statues and beautiful holiday lights will continue to exist in Little India, allowing tourists from around the world have enough time to celebrate the festival with the local people.


The shining jewels and gems, the exquisite embroidered saris (traditional Indian women's clothing) and the shaking golden oil lamps are dazzling.  Go to an outdoor concert. When you enjoy a musical performance under the stars, let the tattoo master embroider an intricate Indian painting on your arm. Or just live in the many cafes around, order a cup of Indian tea (teh tarik) and enjoy the Singapore's most beautiful and exciting traditional ethnic festivals, which are full of passion and vitality.


Deepavali Festival

Deepavali Festival


Recommended Venues for the Deepavali Festival Celebration

  • Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, built in 1855, dedicated to the goddess Kali. The majestic towers, the doorways of the temples lined with bells, and the tops of the towers of many gods attract many tourists.


  • Mustafa Center, lit 24 hours a day, is a very bustling shopping mall in Singapore. There are all kinds of things here, and you can find everything you want to buy.


  • Deepavali Festival Fair: vendors sell everything from festival decorations to seasonal snacks such as murukku and athirasam.


Thaipusam Festival

Thaipusam is the most important festival for Hindus around the world and its importance is comparable to that of the New Year. In Singapore, Thaipusam is also affectionately known as the "Ten Thousand Lantern Festival". It is celebrated from October to November of each year and has been listed as a public holiday.


Thaipusam is a festival where Hindus celebrate the victory of justice over evil and the victory of light over darkness. There are different opinions about the origin of the festival, among them the most widespread is how Narakasura did everything possible to win the favor of heaven and eventually become the king of a country. However, under his tyranny, the desperate subjects had to turn to another god, Lord Sri Krishna, the ruler of the Madura Kingdom.


Thaipusam Festival

Thaipusam Festival


Later, Krishna finally killed the evil king Narakasura. At the time of Krishna's triumph, it was also on the night of the new moon, and the whole city fell into darkness. To celebrate Krishna's victorious return, people have lit fuel lamps and celebrated everywhere. Therefore, to this day, Hindus still keep the tradition of lighting oil lamps to commemorate the Krishna who defeated the forces of evil.


In Singapore, the Thaipusam festival ceremony starts from the morning, with believers appearing from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple. It is a visual marvel. If you are lucky enough to join this festival, it will be a huge victory for your travel to Singapore.


Chinese New Year

Most of the towns are Chinese, therefore the biggest festival for Chinese in the world is also very lively in Singapore. A few weeks before the Spring Festival, red lanterns and decorations will be hung on the streets, and the New Year's supply market will be packed with people. There are many kinds of celebrations. The marvelous parade is interspersed with lively lion dance performances, and friends and family gather for dinner and food. Pineapple cakes, mille cakes, egg rolls, coconut milk cakes, spicy shrimp rolls are classic holiday treats. Friends give gifts to each other and send citrus and bless to each other. Children can receive many "red envelopes". Kumquat potted plants are decorated with red ribbons, red couplets are pasted on the door and red lanterns are hung in each house, which gives it a happy and festive atmosphere.


Chinese New Year in Singapore

Chinese New Year in Singapore


Recommended places for Chinese New Year celebration

  • Chinatown, the vibrant and extraordinary Chinese New Year produce market with a strong festive atmosphere, is a sight not to be missed during Singapore's Lunar New Year. Don't miss the lighting ceremony in Chinatown Plaza, where the wonderful lion dance and fire-swallowing show will take place.


  • NS Plaza: in this cultural gala, sampling festival foods, seeing theaters, experiencing Chinese calligraphy, or gazing at the giant handwork lantern are fun activities you can join during the festival.





Singapore Food Festival (July - August)

Singaporeans' passion for food is well known. This is particularly evident at the annual Singapore Food Festival. Every year, foodies can taste the delicacies cooked by the most dazzling celebrity chefs in the city of Leon and enjoy a true feast for the senses.


The Singapore Food Festival takes festivals and food to an unprecedented level. Visitors to the food festival can enjoy innovative traditional and modern cuisine and expand their knowledge in the field of gastronomy.


In addition to presenting a feast for the senses, the Singapore Food Festival also offers a number of exciting experiences, including various workshops, joint chef projects, and themed tours on Singapore's neighborhood cuisine.


Singapore Food Festival

Singapore Food Festival


Recommended places for Singapore food festival celebration

  • Little India


Little India

Little India


Singapore National Day (August 9)

This is a day of national celebration. On this day, Singapore and the entire country will celebrate all the achievements that Singapore has made since independence. You can see wonderful aerial performances, solemn military parades and various wonderful cultures. Red and white flags fly across the country, and magnificent fireworks make this great day more joyous.


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