|Information about Singapore: Local Festive Holidays|
Local Festive Holidays
SINGAPORE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS FOR THE YEAR 2004
New Year’s Day Thursday 1 Jan 2004
Singapore's Chinese, Muslim and Hindu communities look forward to some very important dates in their calendar each year and here's a look at some of their cultural / religious practices.
Chinese New Year (Jan 22-23 2004)
Months before the Chinese New Year, enthusiastic crowds of shoppers searched everywhere (but especially at Chinatown) for everything that signifies the festival. Some of the goodies include mandarin oranges, barbequed pork, pineapple tarts, and the age old custom of "ang pow" (red packets for good luck and health) as well as the famous reunion feast on the eve of the Chinese New Year.
The chinese community also shops for new clothes, new household items and the favourite colour of the period will most definitely be red. The colour that signifies luck, prosperity, health and all things good. Younger members of the family will visit relatives and friends and family relationships are remembered. The Chingay parade adds to the festive atmosphere with lion and dragon dances, acrobats and decorated floats taking to the streets.
Hari Raya Haji (Feb 1, 2004)
This is the celebration of the end of the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, at which pilgrims are given the titles of Haji and Hajjah (for men and women respectively). Goats are sacrificed and the meat distributed to the poor during this celebration.
Vesak Day (June 2, 2004)
The most important day in the Buddhist Calendar, Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. Devotees gather in temples throughout the country to offer prayers. This is also an occasion to offer alms to monks and give free meals to the needy.
Deepavali (Nov 11, 2004)
Celebrated by Hindus, Deepavali (also known as "The Festival of Lights") signifies the triumph of good over evil, and thus light over darkness. Hindus adorn their homes with dozens of lights or oil lamps (vikku) and it is a day of festive joy and friends visited each other to extend good wishes, much like the chinese do during their New Year.
You can visit Campbell Lane in Little India between 6 and 26 October this year for the street carnival atmosphere when the street is transformed into a festival village. There will be a showcase of the best Indian culture, featuring festival stalls offering a variety of jewellry and accessories, art and craft, home furnishings, food and spices.
The lights and carnival will provide a cheery backdrop for cultural performances by local talent and foreign artistes representing a rare mixture of South and North Indian cultures. These performances will take place every evening, except Sundays, until the eve of Deepavali.
Hari Raya Puasa (Nov 14, 2004)
Hari Raya Puasa officially begins on the sighting of the moon of the month of Syawal. It marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan for Muslims. The festival is ushered in by prayers at the mosque in the morning followed by a thanksgiving feast.
Hari Raya Puasa is a time for forgiveness and strengthening bonds within the community. It is similar to the Chinese New Year where new clothes are donned and all friends are invited to the home.
The Geylang area will be lighted up during this festive season and you can also go shopping there at the "pasar malam" (night market) selling all things Malay.
If you are spending your first Christmas here in Singapore, do not miss our splendid Christmas Light-Up!
Christmas Light-Up (Nov 16, 2004 - Jan 4, 2005)
Orchard Road dazzles with joyful festive performances during Christmas. Stroll along the stretch of road ahead and be captivated by the thousands of surrounding fairy lights. Beautiful arches stand nobly on both sides of the road, decked with colourful streamers, hollies and bells. Join in the festive rush and rejoice with the merry revellers.
Check out the facades of shopping malls and hotels as they are dressed to compete for the "Best Decorated Building" title. Inside the shopping malls, the angelic voices of carollers and special Christmas events bring the festive mood to an all-time high.
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