After already having looked at some of the main religions in Singapore – Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, and Taoism, this article will look at some of the other religions and spiritual practices that also help to make Singapore such a religiously diverse nation.
Sikhism was introduced to Singapore in the late 1840s. The religion spread to the country because of several different factors; Sikh prisoners were sent to Singapore by the British during their rule in India, and some Sikhs immigrated to Singapore. The majority of early Sikh immigrants came from India’s Punjab region. Most of today’s Singaporean Sikhs have Indian heritage.
Sikhism is based around the teachings of its founder, Guru Nanak. Major features are that there is only one god and that living a good life and performing good deeds is more important than spiritual rituals. Sikhs should world hard, be mindful of god, help others less fortunate, treat everyone the same, and live an honest life.
There are five main symbols of Sikhism, known as the five Ks. There are kesh, not cutting the hair and wearing a turban, kirpan, a small ceremonial dagger, kara, a steel bangle, kangha, a small wooden comb, and kachhera, cotton boxer shorts.
There are seven Sikh places of worship, gurdwaras, in Singapore, with the oldest being the Central Sikh Temple.
Jainism has been present in Singapore since the early 1900s. It is an ancient religion from India. There is no god or over-arching creator, rather an idea in an everlasting universe that passes through different cycles. Jains believe in not harming any other living being, and self-control, non-violence, and abstinence are core features. Jains are strict vegetarians.
There are no Jain temples in Singapore. The Singapore Jain Religious Society is the main building for Singaporean Jains.
Baha’i was first introduced to Singapore in the 1950s. The faith began in the 19th century in what is now modern-day Iran. There is only one god within the Baha’i beliefs, and some main principles include the spiritual unity of all human beings, all religions stem from the one god, and the equality of people. Baha’is believe that the earth has seen several divine messengers, including Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, and other prominent figures from many other religions. It is thought that these messengers all came from the same god. Singapore has a Baha’i cemetery.
Singapore’s Jewish population may be fairly small today, but the country has two Jewish synagogues. The oldest synagogue in Singapore is Maghain Aboth Synagogue.
Singapore’s early Jews arrived from India in the early 1800s. A large percentage of Singapore’s Jewish population emigrated, but there have been newer waves of immigration by Ashkenazi Jews since.
Shenism and Zoroastrian can also be found in Singapore. There are also, of course, people who do not follow any organised religion. People who have no religion could be atheists, agnostics, humanists, and those known as freethinkers. There is certainly lots of religious diversity and freedom in Singapore!