In small, crowded and busy Singapore, it is important to be gracious to one another. Having good relations with our neighbours make for more pleasant living in our compact society. Following the common rules of social behaviour, respecting others’ property and space, and practicing gracious social behaviour can go a long way to making it a safe and enjoyable place for all – visitors and Singaporeans alike.
Having many races and cultures living together in Singapore enriches our lives with many festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
Here’s a rundown of the various events from the four major ethnic groups that you can experience in Singapore.
Key festivals in Singapore
National Day in Singapore
To commemorate the day when we became an independent nation in 1965, Singapore celebrates National Day on August 9. Be ready to don red and white clothing and join the celebrations along with the whole nation on that day. Our National Day Parade is not to be missed, and spectacular fireworks light up the sky at night.
Another annual event, Racial Harmony Day, falls on July 21, in commemoration of the communal riots of 1964. It is day to remind Singaporeans of the importance of maintaining racial and religious harmony in a multicultural and multi-ethnic society. On that day, you may see school children dressed up in their respective traditional costumes such as the Baju Kurung and Saree.
Learn more about these festivals and many others that are not listed here at www.visitsingapore.com
, or read our Settling In handbook
National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony brings together the apex religious leaders to nurture networks of trust and strengthen social cohesion.
The Inter Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs) are local level inter-faith platforms in every constituency, formed to build friendships between religious and community leaders, and to deepen people’s understanding of various beliefs and practices through heritage trails, inter-faith talks and religious festivities.
Other interfaith efforts include the Inter-Religious Organisation or IRO, which was set up in 1949 to promote friendship and cooperation among members of different religions; as well as the Harmony Centre, an integrated hub for the promotion of greater understanding and the engagement of all faith communities.
Arts and Sports
If you want to learn more about Singapore and meet Singaporeans, the local arts fraternity is a good place to start. You’ll make friends from various backgrounds and learn about the different cultures through music, acting, dancing, or just interacting with people and experiencing our vibrant arts scene together.
For more ways to get involved, visit the National Arts Council’s arts volunteer website or PassionArts by the People’s Association, which lists current and upcoming events. You’ll never run out of things to do — and better still, people to do them with!
Wondering how to be part of the local arts fraternity, including dance, theatre, music, literary and traditional arts?
Arts and culture in Singapore
Sign up with Friends of the Museums (FOM) to learn about Singapore’s culture and heritage, and share your newfound knowledge with locals and visitors. You’ll give free guided tours at National Heritage Board museums such as the National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum. At the same time, expand your social circle by meeting other guides from Singapore and beyond.
The National Gallery and Singapore Art Museum have similar volunteer or docent programmes, where you can share your newfound knowledge with other visitors. Non-English speakers are welcome too — the Singapore Art Museum recruits Mandarin-speaking docents, while FOM welcomes both Mandarin and Japanese-speaking docents.
Sports are another great way to make friends. Put your trainers on and find a sport to love! Singapore offers a whole host of activities, facilities and sports groups.