Christmas in Singapore: Lights, Food, Music and Sharing
Christmas in Singapore is best summarised by four words. Lights, food, music and sharing. Each year-end, Christians and Non-Christians alike come together in this multi-racial society to celebrate the final holiday of the year. It is a time of great joy and enchanting merriment.
For over thirty years now, the harbinger of Christmas in Singapore has been the annual festive light-up in the Orchard Road shopping belt. Setup usually begins in late October, and by the Saturday of the official lighting ceremony, the interiors of all hotels and malls in the area would also be full of glittering decorations. With the Orchard Road light-up now including more districts than ever, it is not only a major tourism event but also keenly anticipated by Singaporeans looking forward to the year-end. Definitely an attraction to look forward to for those visiting the city-state in December.
In recent years, major sightseeing destinations have also started their own celebratory light-ups. The wonderland displays at Gardens by the Bay is now an annual feature, dazzling both children and adults with Italian luminarie light sculptures. In 2016, UNESCO site Singapore Botanical also hosted the Trees of the World light-up. The sprawling park opened late into the evening for visitors and photographers to enjoy fairy lights decked trees in the crisp air of night.
Christmas in Singapore is big business for the hospitality and F&B industries, with it considered a must for hotels to offer festive set-meals. These are very popular not only with individuals, but also companies organising year-end dinners. For those who prefer more intimate gatherings, leading supermarkets retail a dazzling array of traditional dishes for dining at home. Home catering, of course, is also available and popular.
Music and Sharing!
What is Christmas without music? The month of December sees numerous street performances across Singapore, many of which organised by churches or charity organisations. One such charity organisation is The Salvation Army of Singapore. The sight of their volunteers ringing for donations into their Christmas kettles announces the festive season as much as the various light-ups. It is also a reminder that Christmas must never be just for celebration and indulgence. It is also a time to remember the needy.
The Salvation Army Street Performance in December 2016
Christmas is the most important celebration of the year for Christians. For those in Singapore, this is also the opportunity for the faithful to share Christ’s message of salvation. On the week nearest to Christmas, church set up displays and host performances at the Orchard Road stretch. What’s remarkable is that these booths and shows are visited by people of all faiths and races. The