It’s a Celebration! Best Festivals to Attend in Singapore
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It’s a Celebration! Best Festivals to Attend in Singapore

Bright lights, lively music, dance performances, and more! Singapore goes all out when it comes to festivals. 

There are many festivals on the island thanks to its diverse population. So, you can celebrate cultural events like Chinese New Year and Thaipusam as well as attend national celebrations like Singapore National Day!

For more recommendations on the best festivals to attend in Singapore, continue reading this article. 

Top 20 Festivals in Singapore


When: Sometime in January

Pongal is a Hindu festival that’s observed in the Tamil month of Thai (January on the Gregorian calendar, usually on the 14th or 15th). Dedicated to Surya, the sun god, this multi-day festival marks the end of winter solstice. 

In India, Pongal usually falls on the same day as Makar Sankranti, which is a harvest festival. Because of this, Pongal’s ceremonial dish (also named Pongal) is newly harvested rice boiled in milk and raw cane sugar in a colorful pot. 

Aside from preparing the Pongal dish, other ways to celebrate include attending the cultural dances in Little India, visiting Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple, and creating kolam (rice powder) artwork. Tamil Hindus also exchange gifts with friends and families.

Singapore Art Week

When: Every January

Taking place every January (actual dates vary), Singapore Art Week is a celebration of visual arts. For that reason, several exhibitions and galleries are open during this event; you can also join art workshops and make your own masterpieces.

This festival is held across multiple venues across Singapore. You can use it to arrange a themed field trip for several days!

Chinese New Year

When: The second new moon after the winter solstice (between January 21 and February 20)

Also known as the Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year is arguably one of the biggest festivals in Singapore. Locals, especially the Chinese community, usually spend two weeks to celebrate this event! 

During Chinese New Year, you’ll see houses and commercial buildings decked out in red lanterns and other red-and-gold decorations. You might also get lucky and find restaurants and businesses offering discounts and other promotions.

Chinatown, in particular, becomes even livelier with festivities. Stalls in markets sell all kinds of goodies, lion and dragon dances are performed, and temples are packed with devotees!

Lantern Festival

When: 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar (sometime in February or early March on the Gregorian calendar)

The Lantern Festival is actually the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebration, and wow, what a way to end! 

During the Lantern Festival, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking sight of beautiful lanterns everywhere—along the streets, hanging from houses and buildings, in parks, and more. Children also carry paper lanterns that they’ve made!

My favorite part of the festival is solving the riddles on the lanterns. I’m not really good at deciphering riddles, but it sure is fun!


When: The full moon of the Tamil month Thai (January or February on the Gregorian calendar)

Thaipusam is not for the faint of heart. This is because the festival is widely known for practicing kavadi, an act of bodily self-mortification that requires devotees to have metal piercings on their backs, chests, and faces.  

For Tamil Hindus, kavadi is a form of penance, which is important because this festival is all about asking for forgiveness and showing devotion to the Hindu god Subramaniam (sometimes known as Murugan). 

Aside from participating in kavadi, devotees host a procession from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. They also bring pots of milk, fruits, and other offerings as gifts to the deities housed inside. 

Hari Raya Puasa

When: End of Ramadan (usually in April)

Also known as Eid al-Fitr, Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of Ramadan (a month-long fasting). During this celebration, the Muslim community gathers to strengthen their bonds and ask for forgiveness from people they’ve wronged in the past year. 

They also visit mosques to recite special prayers. The Sultan Mosque on Arab Street is one of the busiest mosques during this time of year. 

And just like any great celebration, there’s a lot of food during Hari Raya Puasa. If you know a Muslim and they invite you to their place, know that you’re a lucky one; treat yourself to beef rendang (spicy beef curry) and lontong (rice cake in coconut gravy). 

Singapore International Festival of Arts

When: Every May or June

For art lovers, the Singapore International Festival of Arts is another art-related celebration that you can visit. 

While Singapore Art Week is all about visual arts, this one is focused more on the performing arts. So, you’ll be seeing plays, dances, and music performances.

What I love about this festival is that the performances are thought-provoking. For example, I remember watching Delicate Spells of the Mind, a film that made me question everything I knew about ego and artificial intelligence. 

This festival is also the perfect opportunity to find new actors, dancers, and musicians to support. The best part is that these artists are from diverse backgrounds!

Vesak Day

When: Full moon of the lunar month of Vesākha (usually April, May, or June on the Gregorian calendar) 

Vesak Day is essentially a celebration of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. During this festival, Buddhists commemorate Buddha’s life and achievements, and they also do activities that bring happiness to people in line with Buddha’s values. 

Expect to find the Buddhist temples packed with people who are offering flowers, candles, and joss sticks to Buddha. Vegetarian restaurants will also be thriving because devotees only eat vegetarian meals during this festival. 

Dragon Boat Festival

When: Fifth day of the fifth lunar month (late May or early June on the Gregorian calendar)

The Dragon Boat Festival has to be one of my favorite festivals in Singapore. I get to watch dragon boat races at reservoir parks and eat delicious zongzi (sticky rice dumplings)!

This festival has existed for thousands of years; one theory is that it started as a folk tradition to ward off evil spirits. Another popular theory is that Qu Yuan, a well-known poet, drowned himself in a river, and the locals raced out in their boats to save him.

There are still many other possible origin stories, and learning about them is just as fun as attending the festival.  

Hari Raya Haji

When: Tenth day of Dhu al-Hijja (12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar; usually June on the Gregorian calendar)

Another Islamic event celebrated in Singapore is Hari Raya Haji, which is also known as Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice. This holiday commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son when God asked him to. 

Part of this festival is slaughtering an animal and then sharing the meat with family, friends, and people in need. The more Muslims get to eat the meat, the better. 

That’s why there’s always a feast that comes with Hari Raya Haji; aside from meat dishes, there will also be special sweet treats like ma’amoul (shortbread cookies with a filling). 

Devotees will also stop by the mosque to offer Eid al-Adha prayers. 

Singapore Youth Festival

When: Anytime between April and July

Celebrate the talents of the youth by attending the Singapore Youth Festival!

Essentially, during this festival, which lasts for several days, students in primary and secondary schools showcase their talents in the arts. Some of them will display their paintings, others will perform plays or dances, and some even write their own songs!

This festival is full of life; the opening ceremonies are always fun and grand, and art presentations and exhibitions are awe-inspiring. Then, of course, there’s the final day, which is full of celebrations, so you can party the night away!

Singapore National Day

When: Every August 9

You don’t have to be a local to feel the surge of pride during the Singapore National Day. Commemorating Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965, National Day is the time when Singaporeans go all out in their celebrations. 

This festival is filled with so many activities. There’s the grand parade in the morning, a spectacular show curated, the anticipated fireworks display, and post-parade parties!

As if that’s not enough, you can find many fun events in the heartlands as well, and exciting carnivals pop up for you to enjoy. Because of this, you definitely won’t be bored during National Day. 

Hungry Ghost Festival

When: 15th day of the 7th lunar month (usually in August or September on the Gregorian calendar)

The festival’s name may sound like the name of a horror film, but there’s nothing scary about this. Simply put, the Hungry Ghost Festival is all about the veneration of the dead, and it’s practiced by both Taoists and Buddhists. 

There are several ways that devotees can honor and remember their ancestors. The most common are preparing ritualistic food offerings and burning incense or joss paper. 

They can also prepare papier-mâché made from clothes and other materials or create miniature paper boats or lanterns that are then released on water. The act of releasing paper boats or lanterns on the water is said to give directions to lost ghosts and spirits.

Singapore Night Festival

When: Every last two weeks of August

The Singapore Night Festival celebrates the art scene and cultural heritage of Singapore—but with a twist! The whole festival occurs at night and across several locations, so you’ll feel like going on an exciting adventure in the dark. 

The festival’s theme changes yearly, as does the list of participating locations. So, it’s best to check their website every August to know where the festival is held, but even if you don’t, you’ll still know the locations because they’re lit up with creative designs.

You’ll also be able to enjoy exciting events during the Night Festival. In my experience, I roller-skated inside a museum, admired a project mapping installation, and indulged in delicious, innovative dishes; who knows what next year will bring!

Singapore Food Festival

When: From the end of June to the end of July every year

For food lovers, the Singapore Food Festival is a delight! As the name suggests, this festival celebrates all things related to food, and it shines a spotlight on the local perennial favorites, aka the dishes that have made Singapore a food paradise.  

This festival also lasts for several weeks, so you can take your time enjoying everything. Every year, the theme changes, but you can expect some of the same things, like stalls selling delicious food and culinary workshops that you can take to improve your skills. 

If you’re already a skilled cook, you might want to join the island-wide competitions and show off your talents. Who knows—you might actually win something!

Singapore River Festival

When: To be announced (changes every year)

The Singapore River Festival was only launched to the public in 2015 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, but it has become a mainstay since. 

The festival essentially honors the Singapore River, which has played a crucial role throughout history. So, during the festival, you can find colorfully lit-up boats cruising along the river, and bridges and quays are all lit up as well.

There are also other entertainment options. During the past few times, I attended this festival, I watched a theatrical troupe perform and danced with my friends on an outdoor dance floor. 

Mid-Autumn Festival

When: 15th day of the lunar calendar’s eighth month (usually in the middle of September or early October in the Gregorian calendar)

Another one of my favorite festivals in Singapore is the Mid-Autumn Festival. This one celebrates the moon, which is why the decorations are so aesthetically pleasing; many neighborhoods are all decked in bright lanterns and moon-themed accessories!

Aside from the decorations, the festival is widely known for its abundance of mooncakes. If you’re unaware, mooncakes are round pastries with rich fillings of either lotus seed paste, red bean paste, or mixed nuts; they’re so delicious!

The Chinese community also takes this as an opportunity to meet up with their friends and families. Devout people, especially those who are pregnant, will spare a few minutes to pray and give offerings to the moon in hopes of a safe pregnancy journey. 


When: Amavasya Tithi (new moon) of the Kartik month (second half of October or early November in the Gregorian calendar)

Deepavali (or Diwali) is also known as a festival of lights, which is an accurate description because the world does become brighter during this festival. To make things better, it lasts for several days, so more time to enjoy the bright lights!

Even though it’s primarily a Hindu holiday, Deepavali has been celebrated by other faiths, such as Jainism and Sikhism. There are also several legends regarding this festival, the most popular being that this was when Rama returned to his kingdom. 

If you want to celebrate Deepavali in Singapore, visit Little India because that’s where it’s the most active. Enjoy the illuminated homes, temples, and even streets; don’t forget to browse the markets as well and buy yourself flowers or other gifts!


When: Every December 25

Christmas is a holiday popular all over the world, so it’s no surprise that Singapore goes all out once December rolls around. Actually, even when it’s still November, some parts of the country are already ready for Christmas!

Practically every establishment is decked with pine trees and Christmas lights; the shopping malls even have a competition as to which is the best decorated. Orchard Road is another hotspot with its decorations and holiday cheer everywhere.

There might also be carnivals popping up in some locations. So, feel free to enjoy the exciting rides and indulgent carnival food!

New Year’s Eve

When: Every December 31/January 1

If you follow the Gregorian calendar, then you might be interested in celebrating New Year in Singapore. Just like the other cities, there will be a countdown to midnight; then, once the clock strikes 12, a breathtaking fireworks display engulfs the sky. 

You can watch this fireworks show on the screen, but if you want the best view, you should go to the Marina Bay Sands observation deck or ride the Singapore Flyer. 

If you love to party, head to Siloso Beach in Sentosa because there’s a raging party going on there. As for shopaholics, malls are open for 24 hours, so don’t hesitate to go on a shopping spree.