Hinduism in Singapore

Depictions of Dravidian Hindu art on the gopuram (entrance tower) of Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore, dedicated to the Hindu goddess of rain; Mariamman.

Hindu religion and culture in Singapore can be traced to the 7th century AD, when Temasek was a trading post of Hindu-Buddhist Srivijaya empire.[1] A millennium later, a wave of immigrants from southern India were brought to Singapore, mostly as coolies and indentured labourers by the British East India Company and colonial British Empire.[2][3] As with Malay peninsula, the British administration sought to stabilise a reliable labour force in its regional plantation and trading activities; it encouraged Hindus to bring family through the kangani system of migration, settle, build temples and segregated it into a community that later became Little India.[4][5]

There are currently about thirty main Hindu temples in Singapore. There were an estimated 172,963 Hindus in Singapore according to the 2020 Census constituting 5.0% of the Singapore's population.[6][7][8] Almost all Hindus in Singapore are ethnic Indians (99%), with some who have married into Hindu families. Hinduism peaked at 5.5% of the total population in 1931.[9]

In Singapore, the Hindu festival of Deepavali is recognised as a national public holiday. Some non-Indians, usually Buddhist Chinese, participate in various Hindu activities. Unlike various states of Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore places no restrictions on religious freedoms of Hindus.

  1. ^ Marshall Cavendish, The World and Its Peoples: Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Brunei, ISBN 978-0761476429, pp. 1287-1288.
  2. ^ Ato Quayson et al. (2013), A Companion to Diaspora and Transnationalism, ISBN 978-1405188265, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 405-406
  3. ^ Edwin Lee (2008), Singapore: The Unexpected Nation, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISBN 978-9812307965, pp. 34-35.
  4. ^ Edwin Lee (2008), Singapore: The Unexpected Nation, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISBN 978-9812307965.
  5. ^ Jean Abshire (2011), The History of Singapore, ISBN 978-0313377426, pp. 66-78.
  6. ^ "Census of Population 2020: Religion" (PDF). Department of Statistics Singapore. 16 June 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference 2020Census was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Table: Religious Composition by Country, in Numbers Pew Research Center (2012)
  9. ^ Lai Ah Eng, Religious Diversity in Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008.

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