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Happy new multicultural year

By Murray Bourne, 01 Jan 2011

My local council gave us a 2011 desk calendar.

I thought it encapsulated how Singapore has successfully produced a multicultural society.

Here's today's entry:

new years day

We see:

  • The Gregorian calendar date (established by Pope Gregory in the 16th century) for today (1st January) using Hindu-Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, ...)
  • The Chinese characters for "27", since it is the 27th day of Hiemens (the winter month). It is Chinese Year 4708.
  • 26 Muharram (the first month of the Islamic year). Muslim years are 354 days long and similar to Chinese calendar in that they are based on 12 lunar months. It is currently the year 1432 A.H. in the Muslim calendar (1432 years since Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina, A.D. 622)
  • The Malayalam date 17 Dhanu, year 1186.

(That last one took some research and even then, it is one day out of synch with most of the Malayalam calendars I found. Perhaps my Indian readers could enlighten me.)

Singapore has put racial tolerance and harmony very high on the agenda. Respecting cultural norms, especially key festival dates, is a great place to start.

Sadly, too many countries try to destroy cultures of minorities, usually with tragic results.

Happy New Year, everyone!

See the 10 Comments below.

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