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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 equator.

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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

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 baroque architecture.

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

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

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.

 

 

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