All Articles Uncover Singapore’s rich history and culture

Uncover Singapore’s rich history and culture

Male tourist enjoying hawker market surrounded by Chinese new year decoration
Image: Margo Ovcharenko / Getty Images
By Tripadvisor12 Dec 2022 3 minutes read

The many colorful festivals celebrated by the multi-racial community in Singapore reflect the island nation’s deeply rooted multicultural heritage. Although each celebration is distinct in flavor, they carry one universal theme: everyone, regardless of race or religion, is invited to join the festivities. The beauty of Singapore's arts and culture scene lies in the history of its people.

Beyond the cultural festivals, Singapore also boasts a vibrant arts calendar, so don’t miss all the sights, sounds, and flavors on your next visit.

Singapore Biennale

Directors of Singapore Biennale in a photograph together
Image: Singapore Biennale 2022 Co-Artistic Directors; From left: June Yap, Nida Ghouse, Ala Younis, and Binna ChoiImage: Singapore Art Museum

When: 16 Oct 2022–19 Mar 2023

Art lovers will be thrilled with this large-scale contemporary art exhibition where over 50 local and international artists will present their works at various venues across the island. Experience immersive projects and artworks from the heartlands of Singapore to the Southern Islands. 

M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

When: 4-15 Jan 2023

The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival celebrates the best of contemporary and cutting-edge arts—from theater and music to dance and visual arts. It’s also a platform where local and international artists can engage in discourse through open dialogue and collaboration.

Singapore Art Week

A sample of art from the Time Present Time Past collection
Image: Singapore Art Week

When: 6-15 Jan 2023

Singapore’s signature visual arts season showcases hundreds of works from artists across the globe. View these works across various venues—from museums and private galleries to independent art spaces and art precincts around the island. Sign up for public art walks, tours, and talks.

River Hong Bao and Chinese New Year

People viewing glowing CNY lanterns
Image: Monique Koh

When: 20-28 Jan 2023

One of Singapore’s largest annual festivals held as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, the River Hong Bao offers an immersive experience of Singapore’s Chinese culture. Usher in the Year of the Rabbit with the whole family at Gardens by the Bay, where you can see giant lantern displays, catch live performances, and enjoy amusement rides.

For more festivities, make your way over to Chinatown and treat yourself to some festive snacks and extravagant lantern displays.


Men and boys pierce themselves with skewers and parade down the street
Image: xPACIFICA / Getty Images

When: 5 Feb 2023

Catch the colorful Thaipusam procession between Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Serangoon Road and Sri Thendayuthapani Temple at Tank Road. Hindu devotees carrying milk pots and wooden kavadis (ceremonial structures) make the 2-mile walk to seek blessings and offer thanks, with the accompaniment of live Bhajan singers. Those who undertake the ceremony pierce their tongues, face, and bodyas the ultimate display of devotion, it is believed that they do not feel any pain. The ceremony usually starts in the wee hours of the morning so start your day early to catch this powerful procession.


29 rooms NYC exhibition: Performer getting his costume spray-painted
29 rooms NYC exhibition: A spiral psychedelic themed room
Image: 29 Rooms

When: 1 Feb–16 Apr 2023

Making its appearance for the first time outside of North America, 29Rooms features 29 highly curated, interactive spaces offering experiences that span art, culture, fashion, music, wellness, and more. The theme of “Lost & Found” encourages visitors to rediscover, reimagine, and redefine the meaning of possibilities. The installations, performances, and workshops are suitable for all ages.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Geylang Serai lit up with Hari Raya lights
Muslim lady admiring Hari Raya decorations
Image: fiftymm99 (Left), Ahmad Faruq Rozali (Right) / Getty Images

When: 22 April 2023

Geylang Serai comes alive with colorful lights in the lead-up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, a time of celebration and fellowship among Muslims. The Ramadan bazaar is a crowd-puller, with stalls upon stalls selling all kinds of food and traditional clothes. It’s a fantastic time for you to soak up the festive vibe and try some local goodies.

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon boats lined up in Bedok Reservoir
Image: Ronnie Tan / Getty Images

When: 22 June 2023

There are two things you can look forward to during this traditional Chinese festival: dragon boat races and delicious glutinous rice dumplings. Make your way to Bedok Reservoir or Kallang River and cheer on the local dragon boat teams as they race to the finish line. Or check out the DBS Marina Regatta, where you can enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere and catch the top regional teams battling it out on the water.

Mid-Autumn Festival

An aerial view of Chinatown bustling with people
Chinatown lit up with colourful lanterns for mid autumn festival
Image: fiftymm99 (Left) John Seaton Callahan (Right) / Getty Images

When: 29 Sept 2023

The end of the autumn harvest is traditionally celebrated with lanterns and mooncakes. Head down to Gardens by the Bay to see colorful lantern displays and decorations under the Supertrees—the kids especially will love this. Cultural performances, activities for children, and a marketplace selling food and drinks promise a vibrant atmosphere.


Deepavali lights glowing in the night
Woman giving a henna tattoo

When: 12 Nov 2023

Head to Little India to catch the festive street light-up, buy traditional snacks, clothes, and flower garlands, get henna tattoos, or simply soak up the lively atmosphere of this annual Hindu festival. Look out for special live shows and activities that kick off the celebrations.