Cultural Characteristics of Singaporeans

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Cultural characteristics of Singaporeans

Singapore's openness and cultural diversity has helped Singaporeans look at the world from different angles. This has resulted in the picking of the best ideas from different cultures and integrating them into the Singapore culture, while maintaining a good cultural mix.

Therefore, in a culturally diverse country like Singapore, racial and religious harmony is very critical. Without it there would be no unity and strength, which would in turn, result in little progress and prosperity for Singapore. Hence, tolerance and understanding are the keys to preserving harmony and peace in Singapore.

Some typical features in Singapore's culture:
1. Chinese culture:
One major festival among the Chinese in Singapore is Chinese New Year which represents a fresh start of the year. Other Chinese festivals include Qing Ming (a time for the remembrance of ancestors), the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts, and the Mid-Autumn.

On Chinese New Year's Day, all family members wear new clothes and visit relatives and friends. Two mandarin oranges are exchanged upon visitation as a gesture of prosperity. Examples of even numbers: 2 ("yi"=easy), 6 ("lok"=wealth) and 8 ("patt"=prosper) are considered lucky numbers, whereas 4 ("sei"=death) is considered an unlucky number.

Red packets (more commonly known as hong bao) are gifts of money which bring good luck. Parents and grandparents, or married couples usually give these packets to children, family members who are younger than the giver, and to unmarried people. The money in these red packets are usually brand new bills, and are given in even numbers. Some Chinese businesses close shop for up to two weeks-the only break they have in the year.

More often than not, there would be a reunion dinner for immediate family members on the eve of Chinese New Year. The reunion dinners are either held in homes or restaurants, as it signifies the importance of close family ties.

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