Visiting Singapore in February? Make the most of what the city has to offer with these fun date ideas!

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a look back in time. It’s universally acknowledged that Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love, but have you ever wondered why? It turns out that the history isn’t quite as rosy as one might expect.

The Bloody History of Valentine’s Day

You might be familiar with the Christian take on the day. Back in the old days (the middle ages), marriage was outlawed for men because they were deemed to be more useful in war. Ah, feudal times. St. Valentine felt the injustice of such a law, so he married young couples on the sly. Unfortunately, he was found out and ordered to be executed. There are several other stories portraying Valentine as a heroic and romantic figure, but the date itself probably aligns with this pagan fertility festival celebrated by the Romans: Lupercalia.

Lupercalia-Festival

Yeah, it’s as strange as it looks.

Image credit: guides.wikinut.com

Lupercalia pays homage to the she-wolf which nursed Romulus and Remus when they were cast out of Rome as infants. To honour her, Roman priests, also called the Luperci, would sacrifice male goats and a dog in the cave where it was alleged that the suckling took place. The blood would be smeared on the foreheads of two Luperci with the sacrificial knife, then washed off with milk. Like it or not, the chosen Luperci had to laugh during this procedure.

After the sacrifice, feasting would begin, and the Luperci would cut the goat hide into strips, known as februa, and naked men would run around Rome waving them around, slapping anyone within reach. Their main target: women. Bizarrely, the women welcomed the whippings, as it was believed that they warded off infertility. During the festival, women would also put their names in a jar to be picked out by the men, and they would be coupled up for the duration of the festival. Many remained partners till the following year’s festival, and even ended up married.

The date? February 15. The Pope allegedly declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day to distance the feast day from its pagan roots. And yes, February is named after the goat strips. Happy Valentine’s Day.

How to Celebrate

Now that we’ve gotten the weird history over and done with, let’s move on to celebration ideas. Because Valentine’s is awesome, right? No? Okay.

If you decide to carry on with your feasting and coupling on 14 February, you can rest assured that running around naked is an offence in Singapore. So is carrying a weapon. Here are some things to do that don’t involve violence, nudity, or excessive amounts of cash.

1. Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Arise at dawn! With numerous parks and nature reserves, Singapore is great for walkers and trekkers. What better way to learn about each other than through a few hours together in the wild? Take the TreeTop Walk (TTW) at MacRitchie Reservoir Park with your date! After a 1.5- to 2-hour trek, the experience will be worth it. People meant to be together smell together, right?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Route: Start and end at Venus Drive
Nearest MRT: Marymount; take bus 410 or 410G from Marymount station to Venus Drive
Admission fees: Free entry.
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 9am to 5pm; Sat, Sun and PH 8.30am to 5pm; Closed on Mon, except for PH

Please note that the TTW closes at 5pm sharp. NParks advises you to make your way to the bridge from the Ranger Station by 4.45pm at the very latest to avoid being locked out.

2. Lunch Actually

After breathing in the fresh scent of the rainforest, you must be itchy, sweaty, and ravenous. Now’s the perfect time to take things one step further—by taking your date out to lunch. You could always have a hearty meal at a nearby hawker centre, but oh, why not treat this as a special occasion? Go one step further than pricey cafes, try fine-dining on a budget. Gastronomad is situated just 3 bus stops away from MacRitchie. A caveat: the restaurant only accepts reservations at the moment, so do plan ahead!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Opening hours: Operates daily. Brunch 8 am to 5.30 pm, Dinner 6.30 pm to 11 pm
Address: 11 Sin Ming Road, Thomson V-Two, #01-30, Singapore 575629
Reservations: https://www.gastronomadsg.com/2019-reservation
Nearest MRT: Marymount

3. Explore Singapore’s Peranakan Heritage

Take the train from Marymount down south to Dakota, then transfer to bus 16 or 33. Alight 3 stops later and head down along the road until you get to Koon Seng Road. Be greeted by the colourful Peranakan Houses standing in a neat row. You might have seen them on Instagram, but nothing beats being there, surrounded by a mix of old and modern architecture. Be sure to explore the area for quirky murals. Get creative with your photos! If all goes well, your future grandchildren will be amused. If it doesn’t, you have great fodder for a bittersweet poem or song.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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4. Make a Lovely Meal Together

Singaporeans are mixed bag of anything you can think of. But the one thing they are unequivocally proud of is Singaporean cuisine. A jumble of cuisines from around the region were infused with local magic, morphing into recipes we know and adore. Now, this last item in our Valentine’s Day itinerary might not fall strictly under “budget travel”, but it sure pays off in the long run. We’re sure you’ve had some delicious fare here. Why not take them home? Learn how to make Singapore’s signature dishes with Ruqxana at Cookery Magic! A former mechanical engineer, Ruqxana has been teaching Singaporeans, travellers and expats how to recreate Singapore’s unique flavours at home since 2001.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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There is no better way to celebrate romance than having a good meal together made from scratch! Besides, these recipes can be brought home to impress your SO’s family too. Book your class today!

Class schedule: http://cookerymagic.com/events/
Address: 117 Fidelio Street, Singapore 458492
Nearest MRT: Kembangan; take bus 42 and alight 3 stops later
Telephone: +65 9665 6831
Email: info@cookerymagic.com

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the history of Valentine’s Day and our selection of meaningful activities to engage in with your date while in Singapore. While Valentine’s Day is a great way to celebrate romantic love, we hope that respect and gratitude between lovers are not just a one-off. Stay safe and travel hard!

Singapore celebrates its bicentenary this year. 2019 marks the 200th year since Englishman Sir Stamford Raffles arrived on its shores. To commemorate the island’s founding, the Singapore Bicentennial Office decides to look beyond 1819, because Singapore obviously existed well before that. Instead of hosting a commemorative parade at Raffles Place with Raffles flags and Raffles figurines, the organisers have decided to inject a bit of Singaporean culture and heritage beginning 1299 into events scattered all through AD 2019.

What’s On?

From Asia’s largest sustainable light art festival to exclusive museum exhibitions, the bicentennial year is without a doubt one of the best times to visit Singapore ever. Get ready for days of cultural immersion while exploring the world-class attractions Singapore has to offer.

i Light Singapore 2019

Date: 28 Jan to 24 Feb
Venue: Marina Bay, Civic District, Singapore River, Raffles Terrace at Fort Canning Park

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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i Light Singapore is Asia’s largest sustainable light art festival. Get handsy at over 30 interactive installations by artists from around the world. All pieces are made with sustainable light sources and eco-friendly materials. Join in with the energy conservation efforts by turning up your air-conditioning and switching off your appliances when not in use. Be sure to charge up your phones and/or cameras for some spectacular night shots of Downtown Singapore!

Light to Night Festival 2019

Date: 28 Jan to 24 Feb
Venue: Civic District

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Complementing i Light Singapore is the country’s annual urban art event, the Light to Night Festival. The Bicentennial Edition takes a nostalgic look at Singapore’s history through fresh perspectives. Reminisce about the good ol’ days without getting too schmaltzy. Enjoy a façade light show at the Civic District, attend a pitch dark concert, and get your funny bone tickled by Singaporean stand-up comedians for a trip to remember.

River Hongbao

Date: 3 Feb to 10 Feb
Venue: The Float @ Marina Bay

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Celebrate Chinese New Year by the river with light installations and dynamic fireworks displays. Bond with your friends and family at the carnival with more than 20 rides and games, and indulge in delectable Singaporean cuisine at the food stalls. Learn about Singapore’s rise as a trading port in a junkboat replica where an exhibition titled “A Harbour and Home: The Singapore River Through Time” will be held.

Year

 

Event

1299   Sang Nila Utama establishes Temasek port
1400s   European ships make their way to Asia
1500s   Singapore becomes port to Johor Sultanate
1600s   Portuguese raiders burn down a town at the mouth of the Singapore River
1819   A British party, including Raffles and Farquhar, arrives in Singapore; Singapore becomes a British colony and trading post
1942   WWII: The British surrender Singapore to the Japanese
1945   WWII: The Japanese surrender Singapore to the British
1959   The British convert Singapore from colony to self-governing state
1965   Singapore achieves independence
2019   Singapore is a leading global finance capital

January-March

Pongal Festival

  

Singapore Art Week

14-17 Jan   19-27 Jan
Little India   Civic District
Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated as a thanksgiving towards the Sun God. “Pongal” means to overflow, and households would boil a pot of rice till it bubbles over to signify prosperity and abundance.   Singapore Art Week is an annual celebration of the visual arts. It seeks to promote art appreciation by offering up plenty of immersive and exciting events for Singaporeans and visitors alike.

i Light Singapore

  

River Hongbao

28 Jan-24 Feb   3-10 Feb
Downtown Singapore   Marina Bay
i Light Singapore is Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival showcasing light art created by artists from around the world. The art pieces are designed with sustainable materials to encourage the general public to adopt sustainable lifestyle habits.   River Hongbao is a cacophony of sights and sounds celebrating the Chinese culture. Displays of figures from Chinese lore and mythology grace the Marina bayfront while a specially choreographed fireworks display light up the night.

Chinese Lunar New Year

  

Chingay Parade

5-6 Feb   15-16 Feb
Islandwide   F1 Pit Building
Chinese New Year celebrates the turn of the year on the lunar calendar. Families get together for a reunion dinner on the eve of the festival and fireworks are set off (legally) to scare away the Nian monster.   The Chingay Parade is held every year as part of Singapore’s Chinese New Year celebrations. Colourful floats are commissioned and performers from all over the world gather to put on a vibrant display of culture and friendship.

HSBC Women’s World Championship

  

Singapore Festival of Fun

8 Feb-3 Mar   8-18 Mar
Sentosa Golf Club   Clarke Quay
The HSBC Women’s World Championship is an international golf tournament celebrating the spirit of the sport and the women competing in it. Catch Ariya Jutanugarn and Michelle Wie in action this year.   Singapore Festival of Fun is an annual family-friendly event seeking to bring joy and laughter to everyone. Meet your favourite cartoon characters at the Nikelodeon Fiesta, marvel at amazing street performances, and save your laughter for the Comedy Festival featuring some of the world’s funniest people.

 

On 5 and 6 February this year, Singapore will commemorate the Year of the Pig. The event marks the start of a new year on the traditional Chinese (lunar) calendar. For regions with significant Chinese populations, the first day of the lunar new year is celebrated with a certain degree of pomp. Streets are lined with lanterns, and colourful processions lend the city a festive cheer. In multicultural Singapore, everyone is welcome to participate in and to experience the unique blend of traditional and contemporary festivities on offer.

Cultural Significance

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Chinese New Year is the time for a fresh start. In the days leading up to the event, families conduct spring-cleaning to purge their homes of bad luck. Red becomes the colour du jour as it signifies prosperity and happiness. On the first day of the festivities, new clothes are worn and red packets containing money are handed out to children and unmarried relatives.

Year of the Pig

The Chinese zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, and each year is associated with an animal sign. 2019 is the Year of the Pig. According to mythology, the Jade Emperor, the ruler of all gods, hosted a race for animals to win a place in the zodiac calendar. Contrary to popular belief, the pig was a swift-moving animal. However, it fell asleep after a big meal and only trottered its way to the finish line after the rest of the party had arrived. Hence, the pig is the last animal in the Chinese zodiac.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We’re approaching the end of a 12-year cycle in 2019, and a flotilla of piggies have taken over the streets of Chinatown. Be sure to take a picture with them when you visit!

Chinese New Year Events in Singapore

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Chinese New Year is without a doubt one of the biggest events on Singapore’s annual calendar. Each year, a Light-Up and Opening Ceremony will be held at Chinatown to officially kickstart the celebrations. Events such as walking trails and lion dance competitions are organised to accompany the main festivities. Join in the cheer at the annual River Hongbao running from 3-10 February and take in the spectacular fireworks display choreographed by artists from China, the USA, Italy and Australia!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The annual Chingay Parade will add a burst of colour and energy to the streets of Singapore. The parade has evolved into a celebration of global culture in recent years, with international groups invited to showcase their unique arts and performance cultures. This year’s event is even more special, as 2019 ties in with Singapore’s Bicentennial celebrations. Expect exclusively choreographed performances and displays to light up the night.