Uniquely Indian: Rituals and Festivals in Singapore
About the Travelling Exhibition:
Singapore’s South Asian communities are diverse and trace their roots to different parts of the subcontinent including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Yet, their shared identity is shaped by a common migrant history and the collective experience of establishing their roots in Singapore through cultural practices unique to the various Indian communities.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, early migrants travelled via different routes to the Straits Settlements as part of the colonial administration or as independent migrants. They often undertook these perilous and arduous journeys in search of new opportunities and new lives. These migrants brought with them languages, religions, artistic endeavours and social norms which were subsequently modified over time to adapt to the multicultural milieu of local society.
The observance of a year round calendar of festivals points to the transfer, practise and re-interpretation of cultural practices by migrant communities. Some of the major Indian festivals observed in Singapore include Thaipusam, Holi, Onam, Deepavali and the Indian Harvest Festivals. Apart from being special occasions for the respective communities, these festivals serve as opportunities for Indians in Singapore to come together in celebration.