This year, Qing Ming Festival, or Tomb-sweeping Day, is celebrated on 4 April 2020. It’s a day when Chinese families visit ancestral graves to clean and weed, and leave offerings and incense. If these traditions interest you, or you’re just a history buff, Singapore has many fascinating graveyards, including the four listed below. (It used to have more, too: Fort Canning, Novena MRT station and even Ngee Ann City all stand on former cemeteries.)
#1 Bukit Brown Cemetery
Off Lornie Road, this cemetery has more than 100,000 graves (though recent roadworks have affected its size), including those of early Chinese pioneers. The Nature Society regularly holds walks through the property and the Singapore Heritage Society has created a self-guided trail.
#2 Japanese Cemetery Park
This park in Hougang holds the ashes of thousands of Japanese soldiers killed during WWII, and the remains of the early Japanese settlers. It’s the largest cemetery of its kind in Southeast Asia.
#3 Kranji War Memorial
This memorial honours soldiers from the UK, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands and New Zealand who died in WWII. Plot 44 marks a mass grave for 69 Chinese killed during the fall of Singapore in 1942. Services are held every Remembrance Day, 11 November, and Anzac Day, 25 April.
#4 Choa Chu Kang Cemetery
Singapore’s biggest cemetery is the only one left where people can still be buried. There are graves from a wide variety of cultures, and each section is culturally unique and beautiful. Visit while you can: part of the land has been marked for reclamation.
For more helpful tips, head to our Living in Singapore section: