Cultural And Colourful

From Chinese New Year and Hari Raya to Deepavali and Christmas, Singapore has its fair share of festivities.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

From Chinese New Year and Hari Raya to Deepavali and Christmas, Singapore has its fair share of festivities. If we are only one island-sized corner of the world, imagine the richness of history and art that go into the celebration of humans on every continent. We look at some of the most colourful celebrations around the world as a much-needed reminder of the beauty of travel that’s sorely missed.

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Timkat Festival


Also known as Timket, this is the Orthodox Christian celebration of Epiphany, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. It takes place on Jan 19 every year (20th on leap years) and lasts three days. Celebrations involve ceremonial baptisms, then a procession of music, song and dance by the clergy with colourful robes and umbrellas, followed by thousands dancing and chanting to the rhythmic beat together.

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Matariki Festival


Matariki is the Maori name that describes the star constellation known as Pleiades and celebrates the beginning of the Maori New Year – according to the Maori calendar, approximately July 2 to 10 in 2021. Revived again in 2000, and growing ever since, Matariki was observed by the indigenous Maori people before the Europeans arrived. All through New Zealand, colours representing the dawn – hues of red and gold – are lit on buildings and worn by Haka performers in commemoration of the Matariki star cluster in its vast night sky.

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Dia De Los Muertos


Although known as The Day of the Dead, the festivities could not be more joyful. Mexicans view this day, which takes place every Nov 2, not as one of sadness, but of celebration as they believe their passed loved ones awaken to participate in the festivities. There is music, food, and prayer all throughout the country.

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Fiesta de la Candelaria


In 2014, this festival was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco. It is celebrated specifically in Puno, South Peru, every year at the start of February and is an eclectic mix of both Catholic and Andean traditions. An homage to the Virgin of Candelaria – as the Virgin Mary is known in the region – there is a huge parade of colours and dances, and beautiful, exotic costumes. It is definitely on our bucket list.