woensdag 20 februari 2013

Singaporeans do things differently: the holiday season

The holiday season ended last week. And no, even though I'm from Brabant, I'm not including Carnaval in the yearly line-up.

In Europe the basic holiday season lasts from Christmas to the day after New Year's Eve. The Dutch include  Sinterklaas, so our season starts on the 5th of December (or actually, two weeks before, which is when he arrives in the Netherlands in a nationally televised event). More Anglofied countries start the season with Halloween and the proper English precede that one with Guy Fawkes Night. So, generally, there'll be parties and get togethers and presents and the like from November to December. But it all ends on January 1st. (Well, unless you're French and into celebrating the Three Kings on January 6th, but after that it's really over.)

Carnaval isn't the continuation of the Winter Festivities but more the start of the Spring Clean-up (by making very very sure there is something to clean up and atone for).

Singapore's holiday season is a bit more, well, elaborate, thanks to the equal rights of several major world religions. In order of appearance in 2012 and 2013:

Hari Raya Haji (Muslim; the festival of sacrifice; public holiday)
Hungry Ghost Festival (Chinese; to honour the spirits of our forefathers; Tamtam impression)
Mid-Autumn Festival (Chinese; to eat moon cakes and light lanterns; Tamtam impression)

Deepavali (Indian; festival of the lights; public holiday)

Christmas (public holiday)
New Year's Eve (public holiday)

Thaipusam (Indian; the walk of faith)

Chinese New Year (Chinese; the start of the lunar new year - the most important festival in Singapore and not one, but two days of public holiday)

There were a fair few holidays in August and September as well (such as National Day, Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Suikerfeest, and of course the Great Singapore Sale and Fashion Festival!) so really, it's been one big glug of festivities and parties and celebrations of religious and secular kinds around town for about half a year now.

We're missing out on Carnaval, but to be honest, this year I don't really mind. It's been mindboggling busy so far and we could use the break and the seeming return to normalcy.

But not too long of a break or too much of a return to the daily grind, mind - the next public holiday is scheduled for March 29th: Good Friday. Happy Easter everybody!

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