ENTERTAINMENT IN SINGAPORE
The best source of entertainment information is Time Out Singapore. Other entertainment guides and calendar of events may be obtained from the tourist office and newsstands. You can also check out local Thursday or Friday weekend entertainment supplements in the English-language newspapers such as the Singapore Strait Times, the Lonely Planet books, other guidebooks, and posters put up around town.
Nightclubs generally very expensive and not very common. They are often located at major hotels. Discos are generally expensive too. Singapore has a couple of new casinos. Hostess Bars are where men pay extra for their drinks so that they can be flattered and served by young hostesses, who are generally not prostitutes. There are also host bars. Floor shows with dance and cultural performances are held at some restaurants, hotels and entertainment facilities. There are a surprising number of brothels and karaokes, discos and bars filled with prostitutes. Singapore has some brothel districts.
Karaokes with individual rooms for small groups are popular. The rooms are rented by the hour. You can bring own food and drinks. Coffee Shops are different from their counterparts in the West. Customers come her to relax over a cup of coffee and many coffee shops specialize in a certain kind of music such as classical music, hard rock or jazz. They often serve deserts but not meals. Bird Singing Contests held every Sunday in Thong Bahru. The Esplanade is a new cultural center (See Below).
Singapore has several air-conditioned, first-run movie theaters show most recent American, British, and Chinese films. Singapore has an art film scene. The British Council and Goethe Institut sometimes show films. Some private clubs and film societies offer members a wide spectrum of classic, indie and popular films. All films and videos are censored. [Source: Cities of the World, Gale Group Inc., 2002, adapted from a U.S. Department of State report]
Singapore has many well-stocked bookstores. A good selection of both American and British paperbacks are available at prices somewhat higher than in the U.S. Selection is good at Singapore's many record and tape stores, but new releases are not always available.
The Singapore National Library, considered one of the best in the area, has more than 400,000 English-language books, plus a smaller number in the other official languages. The National University of Singapore's extensive library facilities may be used with permission granted on individual application. Small libraries are maintained in the American Club and the Tanglin Club for members' use, as well as a number of small specialized collections scattered throughout the city.
Entertainment at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa
Marina Bay Sands hosts world-class entertainment and art exhibitions. A hand-picked variety of local and international performances, including the Broadway hits Wicked and Lion King have made their way to two state-of-the-art theatres at Marina Bay Sands . The Sands Theatre and Grand Theatre seat 1,680 people and 2,155 people respectively. International acts such as Cirque Éloize and A. R. Rahman's Jai Ho, located in the latter during their world tours. Next to the theatres is a skating rink (synthetic ice) measuring 600 square meter (6,500 square foot). Dragonfire boxing is another regular event, which started on 5 May 2012 with the boxers Chris John with Daud Yordan.
Voyage de la Vie is the first permanent production show to open at Resorts World Sentosa. This resident rock musical is set in the Festive Grand Theatre with a capacity of 1,600 people. The production was created by Mark Fisher. Martial Combat, Asia's largest mixed martial arts fighting championship, is staged over six months each year at the Compass Ballroom, and broadcast by ESPN STAR Sports.
Crane Dance is a multimedia moving art installation with choreographed animatronic cranes built over the sea, and designed by Jeremy Railton. Edward S. Marks and Bob Chambers (of The Producers Group) were brought on to oversee the construction, installation and programming of the Cranes. Marks served as Project Director and Producer while Chambers served as its Senior Technical Director. It opened on 25 December 2010. Lake of Dreams is a multimedia spectacular that combines the elements of water, fire, air and light, designed by Jeremy Railton. Edward S. Marks and Bob Chambers oversaw the construction, installation and programming of this attraction as well.
Nightlife in Singapore
Many discos and nightclubs are found in the large hotels. There are many bars, nightclubs, trendy restaurants and pubs at Clark Quay and Tanjong Pagar Road in Chinatown. There are a some Irish-themed pubs and handful of gay bars in Chinatown Boat Quay, near the financial district, is one of the biggest drinking areas. Orchard Towers and Geylang are regarded as the sleaze and red light districts of Singapore. There is a large entertainment area around Bugis The Hard Rock Café features the comedian Kumar. Zouk has great World dance music. Punk bands play at some pubs.
Hotel Bars tend be like lounges. The atmosphere is cozy, and many of them are located on the top floors of hotels, where there are wonderful views of the city. Beer Halls are beer-halls pubs that vary a great deal in atmosphere and price. Most serve pitchers of beer and customers are usually required to buy a food dish.
Describing the scene in the late 2000s, David Lamb wrote in Smithsonian magazine: “Glass-fronted tourist boats were moored at the docks, but there was not a sampan in sight. Boat Quay, renovated, ablaze in lights, startled me. Outdoor restaurants with tables under colorful umbrellas stretched along the waterfront. Across the river, floodlights illuminated the old colonial British post office that has been transformed into the Fullerton Hotel and voted the best hotel in Asia in a recent international survey. The shoulder-to-shoulder bars in the quay were packed with hip young Singaporeans and European expatriates, drinking Guinness and Old Speckled Hen on draft and cheering a replay of the Liverpool-Reading soccer game on flat-screen TVs. [Source: David Lamb, Smithsonian magazine, September 2007]
“I ordered a Kilkenny. The bartender was doing a Tom Cruise Cocktail routine, flipping bottles behind his back and pouring with a flourish. His assistant, a Chinese Singaporean with silken black hair falling to her waist and low-slung jeans, applauded and gave him a hug. I asked the bartender what time last call was. "Dawn," he said. "We're in one of the new entertainment zones."...International brand-name clubs, such as Ministry of Sound, the mother of London rave clubs, and Bangkok's Q Bar, have opened satellites here. A colonial-era girls' school, Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, has been reborn as a complex of upscale restaurants known as Chijmes. All this is enough to make Singapore's traditionally well-behaved 3.6 million citizens feel as though they went to sleep in Salt Lake City and woke up in pre-Katrina New Orleans.
"Night life started taking off in Singapore when the government extended bar hours, just as Bangkok, South East Asia's traditional party town, was cutting them back from 4 a.m., to 2, then 1," says David Jacobson, the American co-owner of Q Bar Bangkok. "It was a pretty draconian turnaround for Bangkok, and what you find is that a lot of people looking for fun these days are avoiding Bangkok and heading to Hong Kong or Singapore instead."
Cultural Events in Singapore
The National Arts Council (www.nac.gov.sg ) runs three major theaters and several smaller venues with a total seating capacity of 25,800 seats The government-sponsored Singapore Symphony Orchestra made its debut in early 1979 and features both guest conductors and soloists. Instrumental and choral groups, and solo musicians also give public recitals. Popular artists and groups frequently appear at various hotels and in large outdoor concerts. Musical programs are contributed by Singapore's various ethnic groups, ranging from Western ensemble to traditional Malay kronchong (orchestra) music.
A number of capable amateur groups present plays. Impresarios sponsor an occasional one-man show or small theatre troupe. Traditional Chinese opera and Indian and Malay dances are popular in Singapore. Singapore embraces art to enhance its image Singapore, trying to change its reputation, has spent $1.5 billion on cultural projects including the Esplanade performance complex and a National Art Gallery.
Dustin Roasa wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Singapore, in an effort to alter its reputation as an oasis — or wasteland, depending on how you look at it — of tidy, soulless efficiency, began an enormous effort to reposition itself as an international arts hub in an effort to boost its international status and attract global capital and talent. To that end, the government spent nearly $1.5 billion on art and culture from 2005 to 2010, one of the highest per capita rates in the world. State funding has supported a range of projects, including the $460-million Esplanade, a shimmering waterfront performance complex that hosts everything from Chinese chamber music to indie rock”. [Source: Dustin Roasa, Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2011]
David Lamb wrote in Smithsonian magazine: “In a city that long considered a cultural event something you found in a movie theater or a shopping mall, Singapore's government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on museums, cultural festivals and the arts. It even subsidizes avant-garde theater that sometimes dares touch on sensitive or controversial subjects. Performers such as Eric Clapton, Bobby McFerrin, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Boys' Choir have appeared at the $390 million Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, which sits on the site of an old British gun battery....Recently, so many people were on hand for a Vatican exhibition at the Asian Civilizations Museum that doors were kept open round-the-clock to accommodate last day procrastinators. The director, sensing a marketing opportunity, showed up at midnight in a housecoat to address the crowd.” [Source: David Lamb, Smithsonian magazine, September 2007]
Art Scene in Singapore
Dustin Roasa wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “The city that novelist William Gibson described in a 1993 Wired essay as "Disneyland with the death penalty" now puts on a biennial that attracts international talent and has an arts infrastructure that would be the envy of most cities. On any given weekend, Singapore buzzes with dozens of openings, performances and festivals, helping it to emerge as a credible rival to Hong Kong as a leading center of regional art.” The National Art Gallery, which houses the world's largest public collection of modern Southeast Asian art opened in 2015. There are government grants for artists and galleries. "We have come a long way in a very short time," said Stephanie Fong, who runs the city's Fost Gallery, which is between locations. "None of this would have been possible without government funding." [Source: Dustin Roasa, Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2011]
“Despite the government's commitment to fostering the arts, Singapore has some of the tightest restrictions on expression in the developed world. The People's Action Party, which has ruled continuously since 1959, limits speech in all realms of public life. Reporters Without Borders ranked it 136 out of 178 in its Press Freedom Index 2010, worse than Zimbabwe and Iraq. With increased affluence have come rapidly rising real estate and living costs. Because the private art market is still underdeveloped, artists are dependent on government funds to pay for studio space and other expenses. Applicants for such funding must agree to not criticize the government, and artists say there are unspoken rules against addressing taboo subjects such as religion, race and sex — what many would consider contemporary art's go-to subjects. "It's a very controlled environment here. This makes for second-rate art," said Valentine Willie, who operates galleries in a number of Southeast Asian cities, including Singapore. Owners and curators — not just artists — can be held responsible for what goes up on a venue's walls, leading to caution and self-censorship.
“The laws also apply to foreign artists brought in for international exhibitions, resulting in some high-profile controversies. This year, British-Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara had images of gay erotica removed from his installation at the Singapore Biennial, leading him to withdraw his work from the show. Despite government restrictions, society at large is becoming more accepting of artists, said Woon Tien Wei, an artist and cofounder of Post-Museum, one of the few independent art spaces in the city. Despite difficulties, some young artists are managing to carve out a space outside of the government system, where bureaucrats measure progress with metrics such as "exhibition days." Woon and his Post-Museum cofounder, Jennifer Teo, keep the gallery as independent as possible by collaborating with nongovernmental organizations and running a cafe.
“For its part, the government rejects the notion that it is alone is driving the city's cultural renaissance. "A vibrant arts scene cannot be created from the top down," Yvonne Tham, deputy chief executive of the National Arts Council, said in an email. "We need the entire ecosystem (artists, intermediaries, audience, government, etc.) to be aligned and working towards the same goals."
“Still, it remains to be seen whether Singapore can become an incubator of a vibrant local art scene rather than just a focal point for overseas artists and curators. Although several Singaporean artists, including Ming Wong and Jane Lee, have attracted international recognition, many here feel that the local art scene still has a ways to go. "The hardware is there," said Fong of the Fost Gallery. "But the software needs to catch up."”
Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay
The Esplanade (next to Marina Bay, the east of the Padang) is a US$350 million project that occupies six hectares of waterfront land and boasts a concert hall, theatre, recital and theatre studios, a wide gallery space and an auditorium. The Esplanade Mall that around it includes also the library@esplanade on the third floor, making Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, a gigantic cultural landmark.
Esplanade—Theaters on the Bay opened in October 2002. Comprised of a pair of pimpled domes, it is an architectural marvel described as two halves of a pineapple, a pair armadillos and the compound eyes of a fly. Local call it the durian. The distinctive aluminum shades that give the center its unique appearance were an afterthought placed around the original glass domes when it was realized that center would become a greenhouse in the hot equatorial sun. The aluminum skin reflects heat away from the glass domes.
Singapore’s skyline has taken on various changes over the decades, but none has been as dramatic or controversial as the Esplanade Complex. The idea for an integrated arts centre in Singapore was proposed way back in the 1970s, but the project’s radical architecture was only unveiled in 1994, with work beginning in 1996. With such unique architecture, discussion is still rife with regard to the two spiked ‘shells’ of the Esplanade building that you can see from afar.
The Singapore government hopes the Esplanade will turn Singapore into a major cultural hub. The theater has 2000 seats. The 1,899-seat concert hall was designed by the American acoustical architect Russell Johnson. The complex includes shops and restaurants. There were originally plan to build three additional halls, including a 700-seat theater and 200-seat studio but the Asian economic crisis in 1997 and 1998 forced a scaling back of these plans.
Hours and Days Open: Box office timings: Monday to Friday: 10:00am - 8:00pm; Saturday: 11:00am - 8:00pm; Website: http://www.esplanade.com; Admission fee: Free admission, except for ticketed events. Tickets for high profile events run between $30 and $150. Tel: +65 6828 8377 (8.30am – 6:00pm daily) or check: www.esplanade.com ; Nearest MRT Station: Esplanade MRT station
Popular Bars in Singapore
The Majestic Bar (in Chinatown) have been a fixture of Singapore for a long time. According to Conde Nast Traveler: “Inside this 80-year-old renovated shophouse in eclectic Chinatown, the owner took as his inspiration a magical tree from a fairy tale, with the ground floor mimicking the trunk. The intimate second floor sprouts "branches" that manifest as comfy plywood booths and oak-leaf panel walls. On cool nights, head out onto the deck for fun in the rock garden. The treetop third floor, reserved for private parties, has a canopy dotted with LEDs for a starry night even during the notorious monsoon. Well-heeled guests quaff creative drinks such as the Goa-tini, served with muddled coconut flesh and curry leaf, and order tapas like black-pepper crocodile-paw puffs. Address: 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Chinatown
Tanjong Beach Club (near the Sentosa Resort and Spa) is a bar and cafe located along one of Singapore's most beautiful stretches of sand, Tanjong Beach. The perfect destination to enjoy the sun, sand and sea, Tanjong Beach Club (TBC) is modelled after a 1950s beach resort, and comes complete with a pool boasting panoramic views, two bars, a restaurant and plenty of chill-out and event space. Lounge in the sun and sip cool cocktails such as the refreshing Tanjong Martini or the fruity Tanjong Punch. Or order some casual bites such as the Crab Cakes with Peanut Butter Chilli, Truffle Fries and the Gourmet Burger.
Pangaea, the world renowned entertainment venue, made its Asian debut in one of Marina Bay Sand’s striking glass and steel Crystal Pavilions. Floating above Marina Bay, Pangaea is a sophisticated night club that is accessible through an underwater tunnel. It also features the Ultra-Lounge which can hold up to 500 party revellers a night. Already a legendary brand in cities such as New York, Miami and London, with a slew of celebrity fans such as Madonna and Kate Moss, Pangaea will offer Singapore and Asia a new wave of high-energy nightlife.
Singapore Sling and the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel
Raffles Hotel’s The Long Bar is also home to the legendary Singapore Sling, originally concocted by Ngiam Tong Boon, one of its bartenders, using sweet gin, liqueurs and fruit juices. The Singapore Sling is regarded as one of the hardest cocktails to make. Customers traditionally drank these cocktails with peanuts whose shells they dropped on the floor, a custom that endures to today.
The Singapore Sling was initially called the Straits Sling, and was created as a lady’s cocktail, hence its pinkish tone. Recipes vary, but according to the Raffles Hotel, the original consists of gin, cherry liqueur, Benedictine, pomegranate juice and pineapple juice from Sarawak pineapples, to create the foamy top. However, many recent recipes use bottled juice, while adding club soda for the foam. A handwritten bar-chit by Ngiam, dated 1936, still hangs in the Raffles Hotel Museum. The “Million Dollar Cocktail” was also created by Ngiam, where it gained similar recognition after Somerset Maugham featured it in his short story, “The Letter”.
Describing her experience having a Singapore Sling at the Raffles’ Lomg Bar, Rosemary McClure wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Yes, it's a tourist trap. Yes, I had to queue up in a long, steamy line to reach the bar. And yes, I paid $50 for a couple of drinks. But I'm a traditionalist. And skipping a Singapore Sling here would be akin to snubbing scotch in Scotland, Cognac in France or vodka in Russia. So I waited my turn, took a seat in the storied Long Bar at Raffles Hotel and ordered the pretty pink drink that bartender Ngiam Tong Boon concoted 101 years ago. As the tale is told, the Raffles' mixologist created the fruit-juicy cocktail for ladies, mixing gin with pineapple and lime juices, grenadine, Benedictine, cherry brandy and Cointreau. It still looks — and tastes — like spiked fruit juice, and the Long Bar, a clubby-looking dark mahogany space, adds just the right amount of colonial-cool atmosphere to complete the illusion. I was transported to another place and time. Surprisingly, it was well worth the wait and hassle.[Source: Rosemary McClure, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2016]
1-Altitude (One Raffles Place Building) isn’t just the highest rooftop bar in Singapore—it’s the highest multi-experience lifestyle joint in the world. Occupying the three topmost floors of the 282 meter One Raffles Place Building, 1-Altitude comprises of three very different concepts—an al fresco gastrobar called 1-Altitude Gallery & Bar on level 63; an European restaurant named Stellar on level 62 and a sports bar named 282 that comes complete with its own golf simulator on level 61.
Perfect for sports and lifestyle entertainment fans, this interactive hub is equipped with LCD screens for your ultimate viewing pleasure. But if you prefer a little action, you can also tee off on simulated world championship golf courses atop Singapore’s tallest building.
Stellar is all about the great food with an even greater view. Designed by Chef Christopher Millar, the menu features a wide range of delectable and mouth-watering dishes — where you’ll be spoilt deeply for choice. Don’t forget to also stand upon the Gallery and cast your eye on the 20 significant landmarks situated across the panoramic, glittering cityscape that comes complete with interesting historical backgrounds.
Able to host up to 250 guests on the rooftop alone, the Bar calls out for guests to recline and chill out over an extensive wine and cocktails menu against the mesmerising and catchy sounds of a live band and guests DJs. With so much going on, it’s no wonder that this establishment was voted as the “Best Restaurant to Impress” in the I-S Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards 2011 and as Singapore’s “Top 8 Best Romantic Views” by Unearthing Asia.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
• January 1st — New Years Day
• January — Thapusam is Hindu festival in which entranced devotees pierce their cheeks, tongues, and bodies with hooks, spikes and skewers and walk from Sri Perumal Temple to Chettiar Temple. The devotees rarely bleed. Some of them pierce their bodies with supports that hold up huge peacock-shaped metal frames called kavadis. Peacocks represent a Hindu deity. The devotees are helped along their journey by friends and relatives who encourage them with songs and chants.
• January — Thaiponggal is a southern Indian festival in which rice is cooked in a new pot and allowed to boil over. This symbolisms prosperity. At temples prayers are sung while followers beat big drums and blow into conch shells. Food is then offered to deities in the temple. The food is later eaten by followers to symbolize purity.
• Sometime Between January 20 and February 20 — Chinese New Year kicks off at midnight with raucous party with street dragons, lion dances, fireworks, red lantern, Chinese opera, and street vendors selling barbecued sweet meats and waxed duck. Chinatown, especially around Trengganu Street, is brilliantly decorated and lit up, and is the best place to catch the action. There is also a big party on the marina Promenade opposite the Ritz Carlton. The week-long New Year's period is usually a quiet time in which people spend time with their families, houses are cleaned and many businesses are closed.
The Chingay Parade is a traditional Chinese New Year procession that has grown in recent years to become a massive street parade, boasting a stunning array of dancers, street floats, jugglers, percussionists, lion and dragon dancers, clowns and acrobats, among others. The parade has its origins in China, where processions of a similar ilk were held for two weeks after the Lunar New Year to welcome the season of spring. The name “Chingay” was coined from its Hokkien dialect equivalent, meaning “the art of costume and masquerade”, and is a longstanding tradition dating back to 1973, when the first parade was organized.
In the 1990s, the parade became an evening-to-night event, complete with an impressive display of lights and other pyrotechnics. People from all walks of life participate in the Chingay, as long as they have something to celebrate and share. Over the years, the route for the parade has covered most of the central areas of Singapore like Outram Park, Orchard Road, Chinatown and City Hall.
During Chinese New Year, head down to the Formula One Pit Building at the Marina Waterfront for the Chingay Parade. Recently moved from Orchard Road to this stadium-like venue to accommodate more spectators, you’ll get your fill of international and local acts on mobile floats to other varied forms of street gaiety.
Join in as Singaporeans and visitors alike party up and down the streets during the festival as a symbolic gesture of their anticipation of the Spring bloom. Various lion and dragon dances are also held during this time – with acts such as Singapore’s People’s Association Firecracker Dragons Dance, a magnificent and awe-inspiring combination of dance and pyrotechnic acts, where valiant performers weave through acrobatically under bright red burning sparklers.
In recent years, the festival has evolved with Asian and global influences, with approximately 2,000 performers from various clubs, schools and institutions gyrating to Samba music – and has given the parade a growing reputation as the Mardi Gras of the East – in a myriad of glittering, colorful costumes. Since 2000, exotic groups from various countries like Ghana, Brazil and Slovenia have also made their debut in the parade, enthralling tourists and Singaporeans, reflecting a true cosmopolitan society.
The term “Hong Bao”, meaning red packet, is a monetary gift often associated with Chinese New Year. Symbolising good luck, what better way to usher in the Chinese New Year than at the River Hong Bao. Since 1986, the River Hong Bao has been an annual Chinese New Year event that preserves and revives Chinese cultures and traditions. Since then, the event has been a compelling destination for the young and old alike.
To welcome the new year, cultural collaborations between Singapore and China will treat you to an international line up of performances by foreign and local artists. Immerse yourself in rich Chinese cultural activities such as Chinese calligraphy and riddle games, or savor unique delicacies at the food fair. Watch and be amazed as magnificent lanterns portraying popular Chinese characters come to life like the popular God of Fortune and the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Floats from the Chingay Parade will also make their appearance, while other interesting displays dazzle up the night — like lanterns made out of sugar and ceramic spoons — a definite must-try for all.
• March or April — Good Friday
• May 1st — Labor Day
• May — Wesak Week honor Buddha's birthday
• May or June — Dragon Boat Festival is traditionally celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese Lunar month. Crews in elaborately-painted and -carved 12-meter-long dragon boats compete in races of 750 meters to honor the Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Each boat contains a kettle drum and drummer who pounds away to keep the rowers in rhythm. Typically there are boats from 12 different nations.
• Late May to Late June — Singapore Arts Festival was changed from a biannual event to an annual event in the late 1990s. In the past it has featured dances from Yunnan Province in China and Uttar Pradesh in India as well as Cambodian chants, African zulu pop and Vietnamese folk opera.
• July — Singapore Sale features special promotions, fairs, entertainment, activities and bargain sales.
• July — Singapore Food Festival features international cooking personalities from all over the world and 300 or so different participants. It also has special promotions, fairs, entertainment, and activities.
• August 9th — National Day is celebrated with parades with marching bands, military drill teams and fireworks. At the stadium performers with lights, flags and flashcards create intricate patterns on the field while spectators in the stands watch.
• August and September — Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is a Chinese celebration intended to appease the ghosts of wandering souls. Offerings of paper money and food are made. This festival which falls in the 7th lunar month also features lavish Chinese Operas.
• September — Birthday of the Monkey God features spirit-possessed mediums who do things like slash the their tongues, pierce their cheeks with spears and give out paper charms to children. Also during this festival an empty sedan hair carried by followers is rocked and jerked around by the crafty monkey god.
• September — Mooncake Festival features a parade with children carrying colorful and ornate lanterns through the streets. Mooncakes, which are special pies with sweetmeats inside, are eaten on this day.
• September and October — Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods is a festival is marked with Chinese operas and processions of flag bearers and decorated floats. During the climax of the festival images of the nine gods are paraded through town. Hundreds of worshipers join the procession. They include mediums who brandish swords, barbed thongs and crack great whips.
• October — Navarathiri features performances of Indian music and dance at Chettiar Temple.
• October — Deepavali is a festival held in Little India that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the defeat of Lord Rama over the mythical tyrant Ravana. Houses and streets overflow with lights and Hindu temples overflow with flowers during this festival.
• October — Thimithi is a fire walking festival held at Sri Marammam Temple that tests faith and courage. After saying prayers devotees walk barefoot across a 12-foot-long pit filled red glowing coals. Hundreds of people watch this spectacle in which the devotees rarely burn themselves.
• October and November — Pilgrimage to Kusu Island honors a legendary turtle that it made it possible for the Chinese and Malays to live harmoniously on Singapore.
• December — Christmas Season feature a brilliant light show on Orchard Road. Christmas illuminations on Orchard Road last from mid November to February 2.
• December 25th — Christmas
• Late December, Early January — Nokia Singapore Arts Festival features paintings, sculpture, photography calligraphy, and over a hundred works by local artists.
• Movable — Ramadan is the Muslim month of fasting. Muslims only fast during the day. At night they have big feasts. It is a good time to try special Malay holiday delicacies.
• Movable — Hair Raya Puasa is a festival that celebrates the end of Ramadan. Big feasts are held.
• Movable — Hair Raya is a Muslim Festival in which animals are ritually slaughtered and the meat is given to the poor that takes at the time the Hajj ends.
• Singapore Biennale in odd numbered years www.singaporebiennale.org
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Singapore tourism websites, Singapore government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in August 2020