Capturing the vibrancy and diversity of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage.

Singapore's Intangible
Cultural Heritage

Intangible cultural heritage comprises the traditions, rituals, crafts, expressions, knowledge and skills
that we practise and pass on from generation to generation.

It is quintessentially, a part of living, everyday heritage.
Our intangible cultural heritage is dynamic, evolving and constantly being updated.
This living heritage can be re-created by individuals, groups and communities
in response to their environments, interactions with nature and history, and changes in our lifestyles.

Be it the celebration of family and friendship ties during Chinese New Year,
the rhythmic performances of Dikir Barat, or universal appreciation
of the intricacies of Nyonya beadwork and embroidery,
let us come together to capture the essence of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage
and help safeguard it for future generations.

Stories of Singapore’s

A celebration of Singapore’s distinct intangible cultural heritage
through the experiences of 3 individuals,
and the love they have for their unique culture and identity.


Congratulations to the winners of #OurSGHeritageContest!
The winning photographs tell powerful stories about a living intangible cultural heritage that is dynamic, evolving and constantly being updated.


Grand Prize Winner Photo


"The Nine Emperor Gods festival is one of the most important religious events for the Taoist community in South East Asia, and widely celebrated in Singapore in more than 15 temples each year. This photo depicts the final night of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival where there is an elaborate ritual to send off the gods.
Boats would be set ablaze in the sea bidding goodbye to the nine emperor gods. However, the festival, which is a celebration that dates back 2,000 years, is more than ancient cosmology and rituals, but a reflection of how our temple communities have transformed to align with our changing landscape, and a symbol of Chinese culture and tradition. Its promotion and preservation will go a long way in continuing to shape our Singaporean identity, and is an indelible part of our living cultural heritage, giving us a unique sense of identity, community and responsibility". @ONGWILL


Second Place Photo


"Commonly sighted during Chinese New Year festival, Lion Dance performance is believed to bring good luck and shall be preserved". @LEODEPARI18


Third Place Winner Photo


"With the trend of globalization and focus on economic growth, it can be easy to neglect our intangible cultural heritage. Events such as fire dragon festival, dragon boat festival, and opera troupe performance remind us to celebrate our diverse histories and preserve them in our progressive society". @NIKKI.CYC


Consolation Prize


"Singapore’s Fire Dragon maker, ensuring the survival of this trade and skills. Was made to understand that it took him more than 4 months to complete the Dragon, and the materials especially the straws, were imported from China." @IAMUSOV

Grand Prize Winner Photo


"Kasut Manik (literally= shoes, beads) is worn by nyonyas to complete the dress of Kebaya and Batik Sarong.
This is another fine work that is so impressive. The design and hard work put into making it, are often the hallmark of highly respected peranakan women. If we look back at the hard work and dedication, how can we sit down with so many excuses and complaints? When we start leaving the culture behind, that’s when we start to forget who we are and what we are capable of. Remember those who made it before you, so you know what you can make for those after you". @STSANTO

Grand Prize Winner Photo


"At the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, devotees make preparations for their spiritual journey to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. Despite the pilgrimage already being a gruelling 4km bare-footed walk, devotees' faith are further tested when they undergo more extreme forms of mutilation.
Yet, they willingly partake in the Kavadi Attam (Burden Dance) as a form of gratitude to Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of War.
The desire for reform spreads a positive message to subsequent generations, who continue to appreciate the tradition that has been an integral part of Singapore’s unique intangible cultural heritage". @BT_PHOTOGRAPHY.SG

Grand Prize Winner Photo


“For many ethnic Chinese, religious rituals would be incomplete without joss sticks. At Tay Guan Heng, the centuries-old craft of making giant joss sticks – by hand – is preserved by the Tay brothers. These 2m-long dragon joss sticks originate from cinnamon bark, which becomes dough when mixed with water.
The Tay brothers work with the dough, shaping and sculpting them with icons befitting the grandeur of the religious ceremonies they accompany. The Tay brothers are custodians of our rich and intangible cultural heritage.
Once they retire, a part of our cultural fabric will disappear with them, lost forever to modernity”. @SENSORSHIFT

Grand Prize Winner Photo


"The short trip with @nhb_sg & @natgeoasia has illuminated the marvel of our Singaporean identity. Beyond food, I never realised we had various crafts and rituals inherited by ancestors. I am both in awe of the possibilities and yet fearful of the challenges ahead. Look at perfumer Johari, who transformed a heritage business to create the ultimate concoction of heritage and modernity.
To preserve heritage this way is perhaps what we need to do to revive our Singaporean identity". @THE_SAFEST_PLACE