KNOWLEDGE BASE Holidays In Singapore - Festivals

Singapore Lantern Festival

Religion, Holidays, and Festivals in Singapore

 

Singapore is Home to Many Religions

Freedom of religion is an important priority in Singapore, and Singaporeans learn about the religious traditions and customs of other population groups from an early age.  Singapore is home to 10 religions, with Buddhism/Taoism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity as its principal religions. Sikhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Baha'i, Jainism and the non-religious (“free thinkers”) form the minority cluster. It is common to see people accepting more than one faith.

 

 

Chart showing religions of Singapore
Source: World Factbook (2010 estimates)
 
 
 

It’s important to be respectful when visiting places of worship in Singapore.  Keep in mind the following guidelines:Take off your shoes before you enter a mosque or a temple

  • Wash your feet and hands before entering a Hindu temple

  • Dress appropriately! Women are expected to cover their hair or parts of their body before entering a mosque or a temple. Some mosques and Sikh temples will provide robes and scarves for female visitors

  • Make sure that taking pictures is allowed before getting out your camera

  • Don’t eat or drink during your visit to any religious building

  • Bring along food or flowers to Hindu and Buddhist temples as an offering for the gods

  • Benches are provided for sitting at the prayer hall in churches, while temple and mosque goers sit on mats placed on the ground and kneel down for prayer

 

Public holidays and festivals in Singapore

With the mix of ethnic groups that are present in Singapore and their respective religions, you can expect a number of festivals. In addition, there are important anniversaries that are celebrated throughout the country.  There are 10 annual declared public holidays in Singapore related to the significant dates and religious festivals:

  • International New Year (1 January)

  • Chinese New Year (set by the Chinese lunar calendar)

  • Good Friday

  • Labour Day (1 May)

  • Vesak day (celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and nirvana of Buddha - held during the fifth lunar month)

  • Singapore National Day (9 August)

  • Hari Raya Puasa (a feast at the end of Ramadan, the month when Muslims go without food or drink each day from sunrise to sundown)

  • Deepavali (Festival of Lights for Hindus and Sikhs to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness)

  • Hari Raya Haji (a Muslim celebration of the pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia)

  • Christmas Day

 

In Singapore, several religious dates are national holidays and many others are observed.  It’s useful to know the calendar for these annual holidays and festivals as you plan your media calendar and participate in a country that supports such a diverse number of religions.  You may also find that your product or service takes on special meaning or appeal in Singapore at certain times of year.  Because of the rich religious diversity in Singapore and its strong support of religious freedom, you’ll want to be aware of the activities around you and be sensitive to their importance. 

 

KNOWLEDGE BASE Holidays In Singapore - Festivals