Singapore is 200

By | Category: Travel destinations

This year Singapore celebrates its 200th birthday.

image of Singapore skyline
The modern Singapore skyline © Singapore Tourism

That, of course, isn’t really true. The island state was known long before 1819 but it was when Sir Stamford Raffles set up a trading post there that the destination entered modern times.

And any bicentenary is a good time for a celebration and as an excuse to attract more tourists. If there is one thing that can be said about modern Singapore it is that it is adroit and spotting and exploiting opportunities.

Thus the celebration will start early and continue throughout the year.

Yesterday they began with an ever-increasing tourist attraction – light festivals. The Light to Night Festival (which continues until February 24th) is an annual urban art event which transforms historical monuments, cultural institutions and spaces into works of art. Participating cultural institutions and parks include National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, The Arts House, Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the Padang, Empress Lawn, and Esplanade Park.

The i Light Marina Bay Festival (also continuing until February 24th) is a sustainable light art festival featuring a series of interactive light art installations exhibited around the waterfront promenade of Marina Bay. As one of the Bicentennial key events, i Light has been renamed ‘i Light Singapore – Bicentennial edition’ and will see the festival expand beyond Marina Bay to cover the Civic District as well as the Singapore river area.

On the River Hongbao from the 3rd until the 10th of February there will be an extravaganza of lights, sights and sounds, usually held to usher in the Chinese New Year. The celebration will feature performances such as acrobatics, art performances and riddles, and will pose as an opportunity for tourists and Singaporeans to mingle.

The Chingay Parade (15th and 16th of February) is the largest street performance and float parade in Asia, and is a unique Singaporean tradition in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Stretching from the main parade site to the heartlands, it aims to show the dynamism of Singapore’s vibrant and multicultural society.

These are the main events in just the first month of so of the celebrations. There will be many more throughout the year in addition to the usual annual events and festivals in  the country.

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