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Singapore’s Ethnic Diversity and Festivals

Ethnic Singapore

Singapore is known for the coexistence of different ethnic groups, which includes the people from Indonesia, Chinese from Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Indian subcontinent. These Singapore ethnic groups form the basis of Singapore culture, making it even more vibrant and colorful. The food, customs, festivals, languages, and art are the dominant features that tell us a lot about the diverse Singapore ethnicity.


The four major languages spoken and used in Singapore are English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. English is the language for all types of administrative and official work. The other three languages Malay, Chinese, and Tamil, are the second languages that are spoken among the people belonging to the same ethnic group. English is also considered as a commonly spoken language among the people of different Singapore ethnic groups.


Festivals are an integral part of Singapore’s ethnicity. The festivals celebrated in Singapore play a dominant role in the formation of a strong foundation of Singapore culture. Listed below are a few of the festivals that every Singaporean enjoys.

You would also like to take a look at Singapore’s history, art, and architecture!

Also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, the Chinese New Year is celebrated on new moon day in January every year. The celebrations and preparations for the Chinese New Year start two weeks before the day of the new moon sighting. During this time, people visit friends and relatives to exchange gifts. The Chinese form the most significant part of Singapore’s ethnicity, and as such, this festival is one of the most important festivals that Singapore culture offers. The Spring Lantern Festival is also celebrated on the last day of celebration of this festival.

Buddhism is one of the major religions practiced in Singapore. The festival of Vesak, an important day for all the Buddhists, is celebrated to honor the enlightenment and death of the Buddha. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Vesak month in the Lunar calendar. Bathing the infant Buddha is an important ritual that is practiced in Buddhist temples like the Buddha Tooth Relic and Lian Shan Shuang Lin. Visitors can get to these places either by taxi, underground train or by buying an online bus ticket.

The South Indian ethnic group residing in Singapore celebrate Pongal from the 14th of January to the 17th of January every year. It is celebrated to mark a good harvest. The area of Little India in Singapore is lit up with a rangoli made in front of every Indian house. Many competitions on Pongal food and cultural dance forms are conducted during this period.

It is the last day of Ramadan, the fasting month of the Muslims. On this day, Muslims go to mosques and pray. They also visit the graveyard to pray for the loved ones who have passed away. Wearing new clothes, visiting relatives and friends, and lighting oil lamps are a few of the ways of celebration during this festival. Tourists who are in Singapore during this time can visit the Geylang Serai Bazaar for some finger-licking delicious food like kebabs and biryani.

Known as the “festival of lights”, Diwali is celebrated to mark the day when Lord Rama returned from exile. Little India, a popular area in Singapore, lits up, and people also burst crackers on this day. Wearing new clothes and exchanging gifts is a ritual followed by every Hindu during the festival. Prayers are offered to the Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and abundance in every Hindu household. With a huge Indian population in the island state, Diwali is an important part of Singapore culture.

The Chinese form the largest part of Singapore ethnicity, and they mostly practice Buddhism. This festival celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh month in the Chinese calendar is celebrated by the believers of Tao and the Buddhists. They visit the graveyard and offer food to their departed family members and relatives.

Tourists can witness the festival rituals at the Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple, go for the Birth, Life and Death Tour in Chinatown or be a part of the Asia Paranormal Investigators Team for the night.

The festival has many names and falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese calendar. It is an important festival celebrated by the Chinese ethnic group in which numerous Dragon boats race together at the Bedok Reservoir and DBS Marina Regatta. As a mark of celebration, on this day, people eat rice dumplings and drink realgar wine.


Various Singapore ethnic groups are instrumental in forming a diverse Singapore food culture. Right from small restaurants in ChinaTown, Little India, and Arab Street, or stalls at Hawker Centres to the fine-dine restaurants, visitors can experience the essence of the Singapore food culture everywhere.

If you wish to get an experience of the diverse culture and ethnicity of Singapore, plan your next holiday to this beautiful island state. For discounted rates on flight tickets and hotel bookings or to buy an online bus ticket, visit and enjoy a hassle-free holiday.

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