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Singapore Festivals

Singapore's polyglot population celebrates a number of festivals and events. Chinese, Hindu and Muslim celebrations follow a lunar calendar so dates of festivities vary from year to year.

New Year
January or February
Chinese New Year, in January or February, is welcomed in with dragon dances, parades and much good cheer. Chinatown is lit up and there are fireworks and night markets.

Food festival
January or February
During Ramadan, food stalls are set up in the evening in the Arab Street district, near the Sultan Mosque. Hari Raya Puasa, the end of Ramadan in January or February, is marked by three days of joyful celebrations.

Vesak Day
April or May
Vesak Day in April or May celebrates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. It is marked by various events, including the release of caged birds to symbolise the setting free of captive souls.

Dragon Boat Festival
May or June
The Dragon Boat Festival, held in May or June, commemorates the death of a Chinese saint who drowned himself as a protest against government corruption. It is celebrated with boat races across Marina Bay.

Hungry Ghost
September
The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is usually celebrated in September. This is when the souls of the dead are released for feasting and entertainment on earth. Chinese operas are performed for them and food is offered; the ghosts eat the spirit of the food but thoughtfully leave the substance for the mortal celebrants.

Thaipusam
The festival of Thaipusam is one of the most dramatic Hindu festivals and is now banned in India. Devotees honour Lord Subramaniam with acts of amazing body-piercing masochism - definitely not for the squeamish. In Singapore, devotees march in procession from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to the Chettiar Hindu Temple on Tank Road.

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