Singapore Culture / Festivals / Events
Social courtesies are quite formal in Singapore and handshaking is the usual form of greeting. (Please note: Muslims and some Hindus will not normally shake hands with someone of the opposite sex). Before entering temples, mosques or homes, shoes should always be removed. Smoking is generally frowned upon in Singapore and is illegal in enclosed public places. Smoking illegally or dropping cigarette butts can elicit an immediate fine of $500. It is important to remember that most first-class restaurants as well as certain hotel dining rooms require guests to dress for dinner.
There are four major languages found in Singapore: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Most people in Singapore speak English as well as an additional official language as English is used in business, government and education.
Singapore is a multicultural and multi-religious country and as such, most major religious denominations are found there. Buddhism represents 33% of the population, Christians represent 18%, Muslims represent 15%, Taoism represents 11%, and Hindus represent 5%, while people with no religion make up 17% of the population and a further 1% follow other minority religions.
Chinese New Year
The celebratory bustle in Chinatown and the exchange of “hong baos”, signifies that the island’s Chinese community is ushering in the new Lunar Year. Lion dances are a common sight during this time of year.
Festival of the Hungry Ghosts
According to the Taoist belief, the gates of hell are thrown open throughout the seventh month of the lunar year (usually in August or September) and spirits are allowed to wander the earth. To appease these homeless spirits, sumptuous banquets and operas are held, and joss sticks and hell currency notes are burnt as offerings.
Singaporeans celebrate the country’s national day with pomp, ceremony, fireworks and good old-fashioned fun. The annual National Day Parade includes many highly imaginative and colourful displays.
Hari Raya Puasa signals the end of the Ramadan fasting month and is celebrated in a festive fashion. To mark this occasion, the traditional area of Geylang Serai is brilliantly lit and gaily decorated.
Deepavali, or the Festival of Lights, is a joyous Hindu celebration which marks the victory of light over darkness and of good over evil. The “Little India” of Singapore, centred along Serangoon Road, is decorated with fairy lights, garlands and colourful arches to mark this festive period.
A dramatic festival where Hindu penitents carry “kavadis” in a procession. The “kavadis” are pierced to their bodies by spikes, hooks and skewers.
Singapore Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Singapore.
Learn about the history and culture of Singapore, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Singapore's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Singapore for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Singapore tours today!
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