Travel Destination - Holiday in Singapore
Singapore is a small country in size but an economic giant especially in South East Asia.
Singapore is situated at the south tip of Malaysia and it is just one degree north of the
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Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles as a trading post
for the East India Company. Its deep and sheltered harbour was soon established as an important port in the
British Colony. The success of Singapore as a port soon attract people from India, China, Middle East, Europeans
and many others to trade or seek employment.
Visit Singapore for its cultural diversity
Today, the city is a colourful blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European
culture and religion. The four main religion are celebrated by the different ethnicity such as the celebration of
the end of Ramadan by the Muslims, observing Vesak day, a Buddhist religious day and the Hindus celebrating, the
festival of lights. Other enthnic and religious celebrations includes Christmas, Easter, New Year Day and the Lunar
New Year which is celebrated by the Chinese. These different celebrations are official public holiday for everyone.
Food is a passion to many in Singapore and a very much talk about topic amongst the locals. This is probably due to
the wide selection of multi ethnic foods and European cuisines available.
Within the facade of a modern, cosmopolitan city, visitors to Singapore can also
experience the lifestyle, history and culture of the different ethnic group.
Chinatown in Singapore was the original enclave of Chinese immigrant; the place
has a distinct Chinese cultural element of Chinese paintings, artefacts and signboard of clans and associations.
The buildings in Chinatown are mostly 2 storey pre war colonial shop houses designed with elements of Victorian and
The main streets in Chinatown contain stories of its pasts, for example, Pagoda
Street was a centre of slave traffic and opium smoking den during 1850s to 1880s, Sago Lane for the numerous number
of Sago factories in 1840s, it was also a place where the very sick were place in homes awaiting death (very much
like the modern hospice without medical amenities).
During the period before Chinese New Year, stalls are set up selling Chinese New
Year goodies such as sweets, decorations and various type of Chinese New Year food. The whole area is filled with
fairy lights and decorated with blossoms, scrolls of auspicious Chinese proverbs and pictures of the Chinese New
Year astrological animal.
Little India is famously known for its strong Indian cultural elements. The area
was first established during the colonial days as a place for Indian immigrants to reside.
Walk around Little India in Singapore and your senses will be titillated by the
different spices. Spices like turmeric, cumin are grinded here, there are also many coffee shops and restaurants
selling authentic Southern and Northern India curries. Whether you decide to stay cool in an air conditioned
restaurant or have an inexpensive meal in a coffee shop, you will not be disappointed by the choices and quality of
food here. There are several Hindu temples to visit too. The Hindu temple is a sight to behold, the architecture of
the temple filled with colourful figurine of Hindu Gods and animals.
There are many shops selling gold jewellery, Indian sari and scarves. A well known
landmark in Little India is Mustaffa which is a 24 hour department store selling products ranging from electrical,
household, foodstuff, jewellery, clothing and many more. It is a great place to get things at a bargain but be
prepared for crowds.
Two major festival is celebrated there, the Festival of Light and Thaipusam. The
street are brightly lighted during The Festival of Light or Deepavali (as it is known in the region). Hindus
flocked to Little India to buy new clothes, jewellery and food to celebrate this festival. During Thaipusam which
is held in January or February, devotees carry heavy shrines with sharp metal spikes and hooks known as Kavadi. The
devotees endure pain as a sacrifice to the gods by carrying the Kavadi for a certain distance.
Geylang Serai is the oldest Malay settlement in Singapore. It is also the cultural
heart of the Malay community. The Malays are the native inhabitants of Singapore and they are usually Muslims. The
dress styles of Malay ladies are baju kurung and Kebaya. Baju Kurung is a long-sleeved loose fitting long blouse worn over a matching sarong. A long scarf (usually made of
lace) is worn around the shoulders or around the head, crossed loosely at the front of the neck. Kebaya is a
traditional blouse made of sheer material and worn with a batik or sarong.
You can experience the lifestyle of traditional Malay villages (Kampong) at the
Malay village in Geylang Serai. Explore the traditional Malay art and crafts like batik painting, kite making and
kampong games like top spinning. The Cultural Museum at the Malay village gives an in depth introduction to Malay
artefacts such as weaving tools and musical instruments. Malay wedding is an elaborate affair. In the Cultural
Museum, you will be able to see an extensive display of traditional Malay wedding complete with hand sewn garments,
accessories and a bridal chamber.
The two religious festivities celebrated here are ‘Hari Raya Puasa’ and ‘Hari Raya
Haji’. The streets are decorated with bright colourful lights and shimmering decorations that look like palm
leaves. Stalls are set up along the road selling products that signify the festivities.
Other religious festivities in Singapore
Christmas and Easter is celebrated by the Europeans, Eurasians, most
Peranakan(Strait born Chinese with Malay and Chinese heritage) and members of other ethnic community who are mostly
Christians and Roman Catholics.
Christmas is also a happy occasion for non
Christians. The streets of the main shopping belt in Singapore are brightly decorated during the Christmas season.
Christmas is probably one of the best times to visit Singapore as the temperature is not as warm, (about 24 deg to
30 deg) and the festive spirit is at its peak.