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Living in Singapore is a great education on world religions. The wonderful thing about Singapore is the way Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and Jews all live side-by-side and tolerate each other's beliefs.

The oldest Hindu Temple (Sri Mariamman Temple, dating back to 1843) in Singapore is in the heart of Chinatown, and the two minute drive between River Valley Road and Oxley Rise will take you past two Hindu Temples (Sri Donaayuthapani and Sri Thendayuthapani Temples), a Catholic Church (Church of the Sacred Heart), and a Synagogue (Chesed El Synagogue).

This is a busy time of the year for the different communities in Singapore (and worldwide). The Holy month of Ramadan is about to start (1 September until 30 September) and the holiday of Hari Raya Puasa (1st October) will mark the end of this important time.

Hari Raya Puasa signifies 'openness' of both mind and heart, and in multi-racial Singapore, this is often expressed in the practice of inviting non-Muslim friends to share the Hari Raya festivities. It is also customary to seek forgiveness for wrongs done to family and friends, and to renew one's sense of community.

Between 30th August and 12th October you can enjoy the shimmering lights and decorations and buy traditional food, fashion, textiles, handicrafts and more at the bazaars along Geyland Serai and Kampong Glam.

For the Chinese community, this is also a very important time. The Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, is an auspicious time to gather together and reunite families and friends, many whom come together to enjoy mooncakes, Chinese tea and appreciate the moon at it fullest.

This year, between 31 August- 2nd November, Chinatown will be lit up with hundreds of lanterns and lights. There will be street stalls and nightly cultural stage shows at Kreta Ayer square from 7pm onwards.


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