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OUR PICK OF THE FESTIVALS & EVENTS IN SINGAPORE
JANUARY 2004 
14 Nov 2003 to 5 Jan 2004

Christmas Light-Up along Orchard Road.

Of all the festive light-ups in Singapore, this is undoubtedly the best. From 7.00 p.m. nightly, Orchard Road glitters with surprises, revelry and joyful festive performances. The shopping malls compete to outdo each other in the "Best Façade" competition.

22 Nov to 4 Jan 2004

Beach Adrenaline Stuntshow at Sentosa.

Showtimes: (Weekdays) 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm / (Weekends) 10:30am, 12:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm.

 

3 to 22 Jan 2004

A Traditional Lunar New Year FestivitiesChinese Lunar New Year Light-Up & Street Bazaar in Chinatown.

It's the only time of the year that Chinatown is truly bustling. Indeed, come at about 9.00 p.m. onwards on Lunar New Year's Eve and you'll find yourself stuck in a human traffic jam with hawkers peddling their wares at the top of their lungs. You'll definitely pick up some great bargains!

Lunar New Year's Eve: 7.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.

Fridays and Saturdays: 7.00 p.m. to 2.00 a.m.

All other days: 7.00 p.m. to 12.00 midnight.

* The first 2 days of the Chinese Lunar New Year will fall on 22 and 23 Jan respectively in 2004. Tourists visiting Singapore should note that it's a public holiday on both those days. Offices will be shut and most shops will be closed. The majority of Singaporeans are ethnic Chinese who will be spending the festive season with their families. You'll be better off visiting Little India on those days.

15 Jan 2004

Pongal - The Hindu Harvest Festival.

For 4 days, Hindu temples around Singapore ring with rhythmic sounds of bells, drums, clarinets and conch shells as Southern Hindus celebrate Pongal. Hindus chant prayers while rice is prepared on the temple grounds. Vegetables, sugar cane and spices are offered to the gods and later consumed by devotees to cleanse themselves of their past sins. This festival begins at 6.30 a.m. at the Sri Srinivasan Perumal Temple along Serangoon Road.

During Pongal, there'll be a lively street bazaar (complete with cows!) and nightly cultural performances along Campbell Lane (where The InnCrowd is).

The InnCrowd's favourite pub, Dravidar Wines, will also be holding their annual rice-sack lifting competition. We'll certainly be joining in! Should have seen the number of bottles of beer we won last year. It was a night no one could remember...

 

20 Jan to 1 Feb 2004

Singapore River Hong Bao.

This riverside carnival, in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, takes place from 11.00 a.m. at Marina Promenade, the nearest MRT Station being City Hall MRT Station (EW13/NS25).

The fireworks on the opening day of the carnival and on the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year (21 Jan 2004) must not be missed. The InnCrowders will certainly be there in full force to witness the spectacular display and to usher in the New Year!

 

31 Jan 2004

The Chingay Parade will be held along Orchard Road, on the 8th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. It will start at 7.00 p.m. There'll be a preview at 7.30 p.m. on 30 Jan 2004.

The InnCrowders were at the 2003 Parade. There was a lot of hype about the Parade, but we were a little disappointed wth the quality of the performances. Hopefully, the 2004 Parade will be better, and with more music please!

 

FEBRUARY 2003 
1 Feb 2004

Hari Raya Haji.

Muslims celebrate the successful completion of their annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy birthplace of Prophet Mohammad, with prayers and the slaughtering of lamb. The meat is shared with the poor, family members and friends as an act of compassion.

The less squirmish InnCrowders witnessed the slaughtering at Sultan Mosque, a 10-min walk away from our hostel. We were there at about 9 a.m. and were greeted by the most gruesome sight of headless lambs twitching and kicking. We watched as the men prayed, then slit the throats of the lambs. We had to hold back our tears and keep our breakfast down. By the end of the ceremony, everyone was green.

 

 5 Feb 2004

Thaipusam.

Easily the most spectacular and dramatic festival in Singapore. Thaipusam is a must-see if you're in town. On this day, the birthday of Lord Murugan, Hindu devotees pierce their tongues with skewers and carry "kavadis" (a semi-circular metal structure) on their shoulders as a mark of thanksgiving and penance. Other devotees pull chariots with their bare bodies while spikes and hooks are embedded in their backs. The entranced devotees feel no pain as they walk the 3 km route to the chanting and encouragement of families and friends.

The procession starts at about 11.00 p.m. the day before (4 Feb 2004) from the Sri Srinivasan Perumal Temple (a 15-min walk from our hostel) along Serangoon Road and ends at about midnight (on 5 Feb 2004) at the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple along Tank Road.

The InnCrowders joined the devotees at Sri Srinivasan Perumal Temple at about 11.00 p.m. on the eve of Thaipusam. We watched the devotees who were going to carry the milk pots and "kavadis" prepare themselves for the journey. Some meditated, some went into a trance, whilst others were pricked and pierced by their family members and friends. We followed the procession down Serangoon Road. Throughout the day, thousands of devotees proceeded down Serangoon Road with their milk pots and "kavadis". As midnight approached, we headed towards Sri Thandayuthapani Temple along Tank Road and watched the removal of the pierced skewers from the cheeks, tongues and torsos of the devotees. It was amazing that not a drop of blood oozed out and that the devotees felt no pain.

 

MARCH & APRIL 2004 
4 Apr 2004

Qing Ming Festival

Once a year, families gather at cemeteries and columbaria offering prayers in remembrance of their ancestors. They burn joss sticks, incense, and offer food and fruits to their ancestors. Observe the rituals at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Temple at Sin Ming Avenue.

MAY 2004
28 May to 11 Jul 2004

The Great Singapore Sale.

This is the best time to shop in Singapore, when the whole island goes on sale with discounts of 70% or more.

JUNE 2004
28 May to 11 Jul 2004

The Great Singapore Sale.

This is the best time to shop in Singapore, when the whole island goes on sale with discounts of 70% or more.

2 Jun 2004

Vesak Day.

This day commemorates Buddha's attainment of spiritual enlightenment. Monks chant holy sutras while devotees release captive birds as a mark of respect to all creatures and to gain merit. Observe the festivities at the Thai Buddhist Temple at Jalan Bukit Merah and Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery in Toa Payoh.

 

22 Jun 2004

Dragon Boat Race & Rice Dumpling Festival.

Legend has it that on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, Qu Yuan, a patriot of ancient China, threw himself into the Mi Luo River in protest against corruption and injustice. When fishermen heard of Qu Yuan's suicide, they went out in their boats to search for him, thus began the tradition of having dragon boat races. To prevent fish from devouring Qu Yuan's body, fishermen also threw rice into the river, thus began the tradition of dumpling eating.

JULY 2004
28 May to 11 Jul 2004

The Great Singapore Sale.

This is the best time to shop in Singapore, when the whole island goes on sale with discounts of 70% or more.

AUGUST 2004
9 Aug 2004

National Day Parade.

To mark the nation's independence, a parade is held each year, some years at the Padang at City Hall and other years at the National Stadium at Kallang. The parade begins at 6.00 p.m. Even if you don't have a ticket, you can watch it "live" on large screens in the vicinity of the venue and get showered by the fireworks at the close of the parade.

The InnCrowders were at Stadium Cove for National Day 2003. The canons which went off at the start of the parade were positioned right next to where we were! Some of us watched the parade on the large screens, whilst others wandered through the festive market at Stadium Cove. We were all treated to a dazzling display of fireworks at the finale!

 

16 Aug to 13 Sept 2004

Festival of the Hungry Ghosts.

This is one of the most interesting festivals in Singapore. It takes place on the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the most inauspicious month of that calendar. Taoists believe that the "hell gates" open and spirits roam the earth freely during the 7th month. The superstitious do not keep late nights during this period to avoid a ghostly encounter. "Hell currency", joss-sticks, candles and plenty of cakes and fruits are offered to the spirits to appease them. Street banquets, "wayangs" (Chinese street operas), and mini pop concerts are held to entertain the spirits. Public auctions of auspicious items are conducted during the street banquets.Feel free to watch the "wayangs" and mini pop concerts which are held in the streets. They are as much for the entertainment of the spirits as they are for us. The performances are free. More pics >>

The festivities will be brought right to the doorstep of The InnCrowd on one particular night of this festival, when Campbell Lane will be transformed into a "banquet hall" with an auction stand. The InnCrowders were invited to the banquet for year 2003, and it was an eye-opening experience. The privileges of bunking with us!

 

SEPTEMBER 2004

16 Aug to 13 Sept 2004

Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. (See Aug 2004)

8 to 13 Sept 2004

Ngee Ann City National Lion Dance Championships.

Catch Singapore’s top lion dance troupes pit their skills for glory in this competition. Be prepared for thunderous drumbeats, clashing cymbals and invigorating ritualistic dance steps. This competition takes place at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, and it's free!

28 Sept 2004

Mid-Autumn Festival / Mooncake Festival.

The opening ceremony for the festival takes place at Chinatown, with lion and dragon dances, lantern parade, and stilt walkers. Enjoy nightly Chinese operas, daily acrobatic shows and outdoor screenings of Cantonese/Mandarin movies from the 1950s during the weekends. Catch it all for free.

Another good place to soak in the lively atmosphere of this festival is Albert Mall, where Chinese operas, traditional song and dance are performed and lantern-making competitions are held. Catch it all for free. Albert Mall is just a 5-min walk from The InnCrowd.

During this period, you should sample mooncakes (Chinese cakes made of lotus paste, melon seeds, red bean paste, nuts, yam and sometimes preserved duck's eggs) and pomelos (a local citrus fruit). Legend tells of how the Chinese sent secret messages stuffed in mooncakes to help overthrow the tyrannical government during the Yuan Dynasty in the 14th century.

The InnCrowders celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival 2003 with a midnight lantern-lit walk through the rainforest at MacRitchie Reservoir. We could hear monkeys and other inhabitants of the forest scurrying about as we snaked through the pitch dark forest. When it was time for a snack, we stopped at a pavillion by the water for some mooncakes. It was a wicked experience, one which we will certainly be sharing with our bunkies year after year!

29 Sept:

Birthday of the Monkey God.

On the 16th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, a colourful and bizarre celebration takes place at the Monkey God Temple (located at the junction of Seng Poh Road and Eng Hoon Street). The nearest MRT Station is Tiong Bahru MRT Station.

In ancient China, during the Tang Dynasty, the Emperor needed a courier to fetch the Buddhist scriptures from India. A pilgrim monk set off on the journey, during which he was helped by the Monkey God, who became famous for his bravery.On the birthday of the Monkey God, a sedan chair with a medium entranced by the spirit of the Monkey God is hoisted on the shoulders of devotees. The sedan chair rocks and jerks, as if possessed by the spirits of the Monkey God. A procession of entranced devotees takes place in the courtyard of the temple. Many devotees perform bizarre acts such as skewering their tongues and cheeks, and distributing paper charms written in their own blood. This event is not to be missed if you are in Singapore at that time.

OCTOBER 2002

6 Oct to 14 Oct:

Navarathiri Festival (dates to be confirmed). Navarathiri means "nine lights" in Tamil and the festival is specially dedicated to 3 Hindu goddesses - Dhurga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. It is a 9- night, 10-day festival. For 9 nights from 7.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m., classical Indian songs and dances are performed at the Sri Mariamman Temple along South Bridge Road, Sri Veeramakaliamman and Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple along Serangoon Road (a short walk from the Hostel) and Sri Thandayuthapani Temple along Tank Road. On the first 3 days, devotees pray to Dhurga, who protects them from evil. The following 3 days, devotees honour Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. The next 3 days, they pray to Saraswathi, the Goddess of wisdom and knowledge. On the tenth day called night Vijaya Dasami, devotees celebrate the victory of Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon. There will be a dramatic closing procession with a silver horse leading a congregation of devotees in colourful Indian attire.

6 Oct to 14 Oct:

Nine Emperor Gods Festival. For 9 days at the Kiu Ong Yiah Temple ("Nine Emperor Gods Temple") on Upper Serangoon Road, devotees rejoice in the visit of the Nine Emperor Gods, who is believed to cure ailments and bestow good fortune and longevity. Priests write charms with their blood and at the height of the celebration, the images of the Nine Emperor Gods parade past in intricate sedan chairs carried by 8 men. As the chairs leave the temple, they begin to sway and jerk as if possessed by the gods. The carriers then charge into the crowd, running back and forth as devotees are bathed in the smoke of hundreds of joss-sticks. Onlookers open their wallets and handbags, fanning in the holy smoke to encourage financial success in the coming year.

11 Oct to 8 Nov:

Deepavali Light Up at Little India. Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights. Serangoon Road and Campbell Lane (where the Hostel is located) is set aglow with colourful lights from 7.00 p.m. every night during this festival. There will also be a Festival Village with stalls lining up along Campbell Lane selling Indian merchandise and festive goodies.

12 October 2002:

The long-awaited grand opening of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, the brand-new cultural hub of Singapore, will take place. The celebrations will begin with an outdoor Fiesta! at sunset, with music, aerial acts and roving theatre along the waterfront. The highlight of the evening will be a magnificent Harbour Spectacular, a dazzling and physical 30-minute extravaganza that features an abseiling team, giant puppets and dramatic pyrotechnics. Be there, it's free! During the 3-week long opening festival from 13 October 2002 to 3 November 2002., there will be free outdoor performances at the waterfront every evening. City Hall MRT Station (EW13/NS25) is the closest MRT Station to Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

28 Oct:

Silver Chariot Procession (date to be confirmed). Follow the procession as the Goddess Draupadi takes her traditional tour through Chinatown (Sri Mariamman Temple) to Little India (Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple) in her towering silver chariot. Devotees make their offerings to the goddess at 2 Hindu temples in Chinatown, Campbell Lane (where the Hostel is) and 3 more Hindu temples in Little India. The procession starts at 7.00 p.m.

28 Oct:

Thimithi Festival / Fire-Walking Festival (date to be confirmed). Held in honor of the Goddess Draupadi, a heroine of the Hindu epic poem "Mahabharata", this festival is an ongoing celebration of incredible fire-walking feats. Witness barefoot devotees defiantly walk across a 4-metre red-hot coalpit, showing no signs of pain.The festival is held at the Sri Mariamman Temple along South Bridge Road and it starts in the early afternoon when coals are laid down around 5.00 p.m. and the fire walking festivities begin.

NOVEMBER 2002

11 Oct to 8 Nov:

Deepavali Light Up at Little India. (Look under October 2002)

12 Oct to 3 Nov:

Grand Opening of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay (Look under October 2002)

2 Nov to 15 Dec:
Hari Raya Light-Up. During Hari Raya Puasa, the streets in Geylang Serai come brilliantly alive with lights and shiny decorations from 7.00 p.m. nightly. Muslim families throng to the "pasar malam" (night market) for new clothes, cookies and other festive fares.

16 Nov to 5 Jan:

Christmas Light-Up.

16 Nov to 24 Nov:

Singapore River Buskers' Festival. Catch the fascinating antics of top international street acts as they juggle, mime and generally entertain along the many al fresco eateries of the Singapore River.

DECEMBER 2002

2 Nov to 15 Dec:

Hari Raya Light-Up. (Look under November 2002)

16 Nov to 5 Jan:

Christmas Light-Up. (Look under December 2002)

7 Dec to 8 Dec:

Singapore River Regatta. Some 2,000 participants from about 100 teams participate in this annual dragon boat and canoe race which takes place along the Kallang River at the Kallang Basin.

8 Dec:

The Million Dollar Duck Race. Now, this is a unique carnival and race which you ought to catch if you're in town. Thousands of yellow rubber duckies sporting cool black shades swimming down the Singapore River are cheered on to the finishing line. Adopt a duck for S$10, and win a cool S$1 million if your duck crosses the finishing line first. The race starts at 2.00 p.m. at the Singapore River.

31 Dec:

Countdown to 2003 at Suntec City. Usher in the new year with a bang at the World's Largest Fountain at Suntec City. This is the hottest outdoor dance party in Singapore, and it's free too.

31 Dec:

Salsa New Year's Eve Party at Chijmes. Singapore's premiere outdoor Salsa New Year's Eve Party begins at 9.00 p.m. at Chijmes. Admission is free.

15 Feb to 16 Feb:

Singapore River Raft Race. This is another unique river race where anything that can be recycled that is - plastic bottles, cans, bamboo, coconuts, tyres, brooms, furniture - can be used to build rafts. Participants paddle their quirky rafts along the 100 metre course on the Singapore River at Clarke Quay. 15 February 2002: 12 noon to 5.00 p.m 16 February 2002: 10 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

Copyright 2002-2003 The InnCrowd. All Rights Reserved.  
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