Up until November, Singapore will be in festive mode, as travellers from the Gulf and Asia descend on the island nation to experience the magic of a special trio of upcoming festivals set to offer authentic cultural experiences.
During this fall period, Singapore celebrates three major ethnic festivals – Hari Raya, Mid-Autumn and Deepavali – when visitors from the Middle East can look forward to a traditional cultural offering through a host of activities specially designed for them.
These signature events will help Singapore attract 17 million visitors and S$30 billion ($20 billion) in tourism receipts by 2015.
“The fall festival season is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to soak in the Singaporean community’s colourful heritage and culture, which is an integral part of Singapore’s rich cultural heritage,” said Ke-Wei Peh, Area Director for the Middle East and Africa, Singapore Tourism Board.
The celebrations are a perfect showcase of Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage and a unique opportunity for Arab families to discover the Lion City and experience its distinctive and diverse blend of cultures.
Singapore’s fall festival line-up has consistently appealed to travellers from the region, many of whom head over during Ramadan and Eid to take part in a range of Muslim-friendly activities offered throughout the season.
The Hari Raya Festival, one of the most significant celebrations for Muslims in Singapore, has traditionally attracted a significant number of visitors from the region and runs until October 21. The event is extremely popular in the South East Asian country, where over 15 per cent of the population is Muslim. During this time, Kampong Glam and Geylang Serai will be adorned with multi-hued street lights, festive bazaars and food stalls offering traditional Malay food, handicrafts, clothes and accessories.
While Chinatown, the traditional venue for the Mid-Autumn Festival, was lit up all through September to mark this auspicious event, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest, enjoying mooncakes and pomeloes with a cup of fragrant tea, the city continues to celebrate right until November 18, when its Hindus celebrate Deepavali, or the Festival of Lights/
The most important date in the Hindu calendar, it celebrates the triumph of good over evil. For this occasion, the streets of Little India will be lit up from October 12 to November 18. Festive highlights include the Nine Nights Festival from October 11 to 21, the Fire Walking Festival on October 29, as well as a lively street parade on November 3.
Margaret Teo, assistant chief executive (Leisure), Singapore Tourism Board, said, “Visitors who attended the celebrations last year enjoyed the crowds, the lights, and generally soaking in the festive atmosphere. This has prompted STB to introduce these walking tours this year so that visitors can have a more immersive experience of the culture and traditions of the local ethnic communities.”