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Based on 1995 censuses, 85.5% of Singaporeans were religious in any way. The different population groups each have their own religion. There were more than 800,000 Buddhists and more than 500,000 Taoists. These groups make up more than 50% of the population over the age of ten. Islam is adhered to by approximately 350,000 Muslims, mostly of Malay descent. There are about 100,000 Roman Catholics and 220,000 other Christian groups, mostly of Chinese descent. There is also a group of 80,000 Hindus, mainly from India. The majority of the Chinese adhere to a combination of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism with their own beliefs, duties and beliefs. Most of the Buddhists belong to the Mahagenese school. Ancestor worship is central to their culture and these ancestors come "into the world of light" during the Hungry Ghosts festival, aka Zhong Yuang Jie.
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This thirty-day festival begins with the offering of gifts to appease the evil spirits. It ends with more sacrifices on the last day, intended to hasten the return to hell. Throughout Singapore, ghosts are entertained with street operas, puppet operas and musical performances.
There are about 20 Hindu temples in Singapore, two of which have been declared a national monument. The history of Catholicism dates back to 1819 when the first missionary post was founded in Singapore. As of July 1, 1981, Singapore has a Roman Catholic Archbishop and an Anglican Bishop.
Four months after Raffles arrived in Singapore, he gave some land to the London Missionary Society. Five months later, the first Protestant missionaries arrived. They soon founded seminars and Bible schools.
There are 16 registered Sikh religious and social organizations and eight Sikh temples in Singapore. There are also many small religious groups.
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Beliën, H. / Maleisië : Singapore
Hellander, P. / Singapore
Oon, H. / Singapore
Ministry of Information and the Arts
Wee, J. / Singapore
Chelsea House Publishers
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country Profiles
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