Date of Issue: 29 February 2008
Singapore's rich and vibrant multi-cultural heritage is best reflected in the many colourful festivals celebrated throughout the year. In this set of stamps, eight of the many festivals are featured. The four main festivals depicted are namely Chinese New Year, Christmas, Deepavali and Hari Raya Aidilfitri. In addition, there are also Easter, Hari Raya Haji, Mid-Autumn Festival and Pongal celebrated during the year.
Chinese New Year (1st Local & 55¢ Stamps)
It's hustle and bustle all over Singapore when the Chinese usher in the new lunar year. Auspicious colours like gold and red dominate – from the decorations to the 'hong bao' (red packets of money) given to unmarried children for good fortune. This is the time of family reunions, feasting and gathering. The festivities span 15 days, culminating in the Chingay street parade.
Christmas (1st Local & 55¢ Stamps)
Christians attend church services on this day to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. During this joyous season, caroling can be heard in the malls and festive decorations put up along the treets of Singapore.
Deepavali (1st Local & 55¢ Stamps)
Deepavali is both visually spectacular and spiritually significant. Its origins are shrouded in legends celebrating the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil. On this day, Hindus traditionally light rows of oil lamps to thank the gods and to usher in all that's good. Visits are made to family and friends; temples and streets are gaily decorated, along with feasting, festive bazaars and cultural performances.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri (1st Local & 55¢ Stamps)
One of two main festivals celebrated by the Muslims in Singapore, Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a joyous occasion marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Signifying openness of mind and heart, it is customary on this day for Muslims to attend prayers in the mosque and to seek forgiveness from one another. Then, decked in their finest clothes, they'd visit family and friends for feasting and community bonding.
Easter (2nd Local Stamp)
Easter is the climax of the Holy Week when Christians around the world commemorate the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On
Easter Sunday, Jesus triumphs over death and brings the gift of eternal life to all who believe in him. Like Good Friday, it's an occasion for remembrance and thanksgiving marked by special church services.
Hari Raya Haji (2nd Local Stamp)
Hari Raya Haji commemorates the pilgrimage of devotees to the holy city of Mecca. Animals like goat and sheep are usually sacrificed at dawn on this day, followed by prayers at the mosque and visits to each others' homes. Held on the 10th day of the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar, it also symbolises a quest for the reunion of mankind.
Mid-Autumn Festival (2nd Local Stamp)
In days of old, the Chinese held this festival to mark the bountiful harvest of mid-autumn. Today, it is also known as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival because of the lanterns and 'moon cakes' that grace the occasion. Celebrated on the night of the full moon – the 15th day of the eighth lunar month – it weaves a special kind of enchantment like no other festival in Singapore.
Pongal (2nd Local Stamp)
Originating from South India, Pongal is a four-day thanksgiving celebration for good harvest. In Singapore, gaily-decorated cows, bulls with painted horns and dressed-up bullock carts take part in a cattle parade as cattle is considered sacred in Hindu tradition and bearers of good fortune. "Pongal" also means "boiling over", symbolising an overflowing of blessings.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008