post wp-admin edit 15471

A City of Festivals (Part 1)

The defining feature of every country is the cultures that are present there. They provide a snapshot glimpse into the stories of the country and the people who inhabit them. Singapore has plethora of cultures and each community has numerous festivals that they celebrate. There is almost never a month without at least one public holiday.

Singapore, being an extremely tolerant place, allows anyone and everyone to celebrate as they like, without any opposition. You can see people from all walks of life joining in the festivities without any hesitation.

Although Singapore is a modern metropolis, many people are very devout when it comes to festivals, especially when they are of the religious kind. The two main festivals for Muslims, for example, are Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Haji. Hari Raya Aidilfitri, during Ramadan time, sees Muslims observing a month long dawn-to-dusk fasting. This is one of the best times to explore Muslim festivities, and they always welcome you to take part in the celebrations. People will say hello with the traditional greeting: “Selamat Hari Raya”. The areas of Geylang Serai and Kampong Glam (once home to Malay royalty) come alive with lights, performances and street bazaars, selling everything from food to handicrafts. The traditional female attire, called “baju kurung”, is sold to hoards, and you can see almost everyone buying the gorgeously printed fabric, usually for very reasonable prices. Families dress in the same colour clothing and visit all their relatives and friends.

Hari Raya Haji, or the “Festival of Sacrifice”, is the other main Muslim festival. This is when Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca, in the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. The symbolic sacrifice of sheep is performed in mosques after the customary prayers, and the meat is often distributed to less fortunate families. The Sultan Mosque, or “Masjid Sultan”, is absolutely beautiful during these holy times, and is worth a visit.

In the next part of my blog, I’ll be talking about the Chinese and Indian festivals in Singapore!

 

Nikki

My name is Nikki and I currently study in Singapore.  I come from Bangalore, India while my parents come from two different Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and I have lived in various cities like Delhi and Bombay.  Other than my academics, I have been learning Bharatanatyam, which is a form of classical Indian dance, for the past 10 years now.  I also love to read and am a volunteer at the Singapore National Library.  I have a great attraction towards these projects due to my passion to help people, and I find that these make me a more compassionate person, as well as help me to see the reality of the world. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

year 2023

What’s in a Year?

A new year is simply a time for Renewal – it is a season to reconnect with the people we care about and decide what matters to us most.
TCG - thank you

Of Chrysanthemums and Thanksgiving

Here is a virtual bouquet of colourful Chrysanthemums for you – symbolising friendship, happiness and well-being for November!
Loy Krathong

November 8 – Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is one of the biggest and most colorful celebrations in Thailand. People celebrate it during the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar’s full moon. This year, Loy Krathong will be on November 8.

October 31 – Halloween

October 31 – Halloween We have been celebrating Halloween every October 31 for over a thousand years already. Its origins can be traced to the ancient Celtic Pagans and their Samhain festival. During the ceremony, people would light bonfires, make offerings, and wear animal and monster costumes for protection. During the 8th century, Pope Gregory…