Singapore Public Holiday Guides – Discover the most important celebrations in Singapore
Singapore is a multicultural society with influences from all over the world. It suffices to say that it is a melting pot of cultures, and with the influx of expats in the recent years, it is one of the best places to be if you want to experience a true authentic blend of cultures from all parts of the world. With the unique blend of cultures, the country’s calendar is characterized with holidays and celebrations that reflect on the rich diversity of the residents. All the major celebrations in Christian, Hindu, Muslims, and Buddhists calendars are well represented. In this Singapore public holiday guide, we will discuss the major public holidays and festivals you will enjoy celebrating in Singapore.
New Year’s Day
On 1st January – New Year’s Day is the very first celebration that marks the beginning of a new year, on the 1st of January every year. This is a global event celebrated by nearly everyone, irrespective of their religion or denomination. In Singapore, it is a public holiday. New Year’s Day celebrations tend to start on the last day of the year, with a New Year’s Eve Countdown party held in various public grounds around the city. The notable events you wouldn’t want to miss for this celebration include the Silosa Beach Party at Sentosa and The Marina Bay Singapore Countdown. Most people in Singapore will commonly frequent these locations for the celebrations. Additionally, there will be other several locations with live performances and magnificent displays of fireworks.
Chinese New Year
Between January or February – Chinese New Year is one of the most anticipated holidays in Singapore. The celebration starts on the first day of the lunar month in the Chinese calendar. In most cases, it falls between the last week of January and the first week of February. Preparations usually start weeks ahead before the Chinese New Year. Most places are not open for business during this period. It is the time for families to celebrate in reunion feasts, visit friends and relatives. The brightly lit Chinatown is another alternative place to visit during Chinese New Year. The entire street will usually be decorated with numerous Chinese lanterns hanging around to light up the streets. Other decorations also include the traditional Chinese ornaments in their propitious colors of gold and red. On top of that, it is a place where locals and foreigners get to enjoy various traditional delicacies. Not forgetting the famous and spectacular dragon and lion dances in Chinatown as well as along the Singapore River.
The celebrations end on the 15th day of the New Year with the Spring Lantern Festival. The Chingay Parade – the biggest parade in Singapore comes ten days after the Spring Lantern Festival. It is a street and float parade featuring a wide variety of performances ranging from traditional dances to acrobatics. Regardless if you are a Chinese, this is a joyous celebration to take part in Singapore.
During April – Easter Holidays in Singapore begin on Good Friday and end on Easter Monday. It is a Christian holiday to commemorate the death of Jesus (believed to have happened on a Friday evening), and his subsequent resurrection believed to have been on a Monday morning. Easter and Christmas are the only Christian public holidays in Singapore. The celebration for Good Friday is rather simple with only minor activities taking place. On Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, most churches will hold a short service, with the main highlight being on Sunday when there is a parade with the Christian matching with palm leaves to mark Jesus triumphal entry to Jerusalem. It is also common for most of the churches in Singapore to baptize converts on that Sunday as a way of demonstrating a new life before the resurrection of Jesus on Monday.
On 1st May – Labour Day, also known as International Worker’s Day or May Day, is another significant public holiday in Singapore. The day is celebrated annually on the 1st of May. The public is allowed entry to the Istana which it is a 100-acre ground holding of the official residence of the country’s president. The public can have picnics on the grounds, and various performances and activities are available for children.
During May – Our Singapore public holiday guide cannot be complete without the inclusion of Vesak Day. It is one of the most important days among the Buddhist communities in the world. It is the full moon day of the fourth Lunar month and usually falls in May. The day is to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, the death, and the passing on to nirvana of the Buddha. On this day, the Buddhist temples are decorated with bright and colorful Buddhist flags and lights.
Singaporeans also decorate shrines with fruits, flowers and other various types of offerings. Though the celebrations are closed hall events, members of the public are always invited to come in and join in the festivities. The highlights of the festivities include offering prayers to Buddha, singing hymns, vegan food fairs, and public talks. Acts of generosity, known as Dana, also feature prominently on the day. You can see it mostly in temples as well as in the Buddhists organizations.
Hari Raya Puasa
Between May to June – Hari Raya Puasa is also known as Eid Ul Fitr. It is a worldwide celebration and an important festival of the Muslim community in Singapore. It usually falls in September or October, and it is a celebration to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadhan. On this day, Geylang Serai – the cultural heritage hub of the Muslim community in Singapore is flooded with lights and decorations.
It is also common to find lots of festival bazaars and several food stalls offering a myriad of Malay/Muslim flares. Cultural performances, featuring traditional songs and dances, will also be present along the streets. Families mainly celebrate the day by dressing up nicely, attending morning prayers at the local mosques, and visiting family members and friends. They also share a Thanksgiving feast.
Hari Raya Haji
Between August or September – Hari Raya Haji is also known as Eid Al Adha and the Feast of Sacrifice. It is another celebration that you will find in nearly every Singapore public holiday guide. It normally falls in the month of November or December. The celebrations are similar to Hari Raya Puasa.
On 9 August – National Day is a public holiday in Singapore to commemorate the day that the country gained independence. The day is celebrated on the 9th of August each year, with the highlight being the National Day Parade held at the Marina Bay.
The parade features members of the armed forces, police forces, the civil defense force, representatives of labor unions and certain business entities in Singapore. The celebrations come to an end with a massive display of fireworks, mass pledging and the singing of the National Anthem.
Between October or November – Also known as the Festival of Lights, Deepavali is one of the major festivals in the Hindu calendar. Not forgetting the incredible variety of foods that will be gracing the dinner tables. The day usually falls in October or November. The celebrations, however, start weeks before the actual day.
Deepavali is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil or light over darkness. During the day, the streets of Little India glitter with colorful lights and overarching decorations. The highlights of Deepavali celebrations are that families gather together for reunion feasts, visiting friends and the less fortunate in the society. Exchanging gifts, lighting oil lamps and visiting the temples are some common activities to engage in. With a ban on bursting firecrackers in Singapore, families will light sparklers instead.
On 25 December – Christmas will not only feature in Singapore public holiday guide but also in any other countries’ public holiday guide. It is one of the most enchanting times of the year, with the celebration starting weeks ahead of the actual day. The day is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ among the Christians. However, in Singapore, non-Christians do also celebrate as a casual and joyous festive.
During the Christmas season, Marina Bay and Orchard Road will features festive street lightings and Christmas decorations. Orchard Road also becomes an entertainment spot with lots of dancers, musicians, and choral groups performing exciting live performances. Another conspicuous event ongoing during the Christmas season would be the various shopping promotion deals!
We hope that this Singapore public holiday guide has highlighted to you the most important holidays in Singapore calendar. Since public holidays are non-working days, you can plan and get the most out of each celebration. There are several places you can visit and various activities you can engage in to mark the day in style.