When traveling to Singapore it is wise to note public holidays in Singapore, because during public holidays these festive events are often held. Besides the usual holidays in Singapore which are shared with most western countries, such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Labor Day and Good Friday, Singapore has many national holidays that serve the large ethnic groups that make up the country. Here are some of the main national holidays that are unique to note in Singapore.
lunar New Year
This is considered the biggest time of year for all people with a Chinese background in Singapore. Chinese New Year usually occurs at the end of January or around February, because this depends on the Chinese lunar calendar. During this time you may see many local shops close, but it says there are many celebrations seen throughout the week such as dragon dances, and a very unique “lo hay” dinner or lunch (“lo hay” is where you have a plate specially prepared raw vegetables, mixed with sweet and sour sauce, raw beans and salmon). Also during this time you must visit the Chinatown area because there will be a special New Year lighting display. In addition, the Chinatown area will be crowded with people, all of whom are jostling for their celebratory supplies for the Chinese New Year.
Vesak Day is a celebration of Buddha’s birthday. During this time, you will see many Buddhist temples in Singapore holding special prayer sessions, and other celebratory events. You can visit one of the main temples in Singapore for a delicious vegetarian lunch.
This is a major holiday for Singaporeans to celebrate their country’s independence. That happened on August 9th. There will be a large parade near the Marina Bay area where you will see parades, shows and awesome military displays. You will also see fighter jets rip through the sky as a signal for this special day. Be sure to also catch a glimpse of combat helicopters flying near the center of Singapore with the backward Singapore flag!
Fasting and Hajj
Hari Raya is known in Malay as “celebration”. There are two separate public holidays specifically for Malays. The first of them is the Fasting Day, where it is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. During Ramadan, all Muslims alike need to practice fasting for a whole month. On the last day when Ramadan ends, there will be a big party prepared.
The second holiday is Hajj, or “pilgrimage festival”. Today marks the end of a Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. During this time too, you will see a big celebration of Malays to celebrate this very special Muslim festival.
Deepavali is known as the festival of lights. If you visit Little India Singapore during this time, you will see a special lighting display commemorating this special Hindu festival. Stop by any Hindu temple there and you will see special candles lit to indicate that good has won over evil. This is one of the most important holidays for Indians in Singapore.