This post is also available in: 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified))
The Government of Singapore announces that there are 10 public holidays every year in Singapore based on important religious and cultural (historical) dates. Additionally, the Ministry of Manpower oversees the Employment Act of Singapore, according to which, employees must get a paid day off in during those days. If they still need to work, they will be entitled to double their hourly rate. Some employment contracts might also have a provision for a paid alternative holiday.
New Year (January 1) is a big event in Singapore. The annual New Year Day countdown, which happens on the Eve of New Year attracts over 300,000 people every year. Other places to celebrate include the Clarke’s Quay, Tampines Hub Countdown, Siloso Beach and more. The whole city is in a festive mood with concerts, fireworks, food festivals, and other events happening in almost every street.
Chinese New Year, is in fact, one of the most significant days in Singapore. The date fluctuates every year as per the lunar calendar, however, in most cases, is during January or February. There are immense celebrations as expected, and the carnivals, shows and other programs happening everywhere in the city-state reflect the rich Chinese culture. The holiday can last between two to three days.
According to statistics, 18 percent of Singaporeans are Christians. However, Singaporeans are also known for their mutual understanding. Thus, you will see the entire city celebrating Good Friday (Easter). The celebration might not be as big as the other Christian festival, Christmas, but you will still see plenty of people having fun. The date usually falls on the first two weeks of April.
You might have heard many say that Singaporeans love working. Well, this also means that Labour Day (May 1) is a big celebration in the city-state. The biggest attraction is the Istana, the residence of the President of Singapore. About 100-acres of the ground and some buildings are made open to the public, where there are carnivals, dances, children activities and other celebrations taking place.
Vesak Day, commonly known as Buddha Jayanti in many countries, is the birthday of Gautam Buddha. The date is the 15th day of the fourth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar and usually falls in May. With the Chinese culture being closely related to Lord Buddha, Singapore, a Chinese majority definitely puts up a show on this day. In addition to the festivities in the stupas and streets, acts of kindness such as offering food to needy and making charities are done throughout the country.
Hari Raya Puasa is the end of Ramadan. The date differs according to the Islamic Lunar Calendar and mostly falls on May. During this day, every Mosque in Singapore is full of devotees, and during the evening, you can hear the sweet recitation of the “Takbir.” Well, even if it is a Muslim festival, Singaporeans of every background are part of the celebrations, as you can see from the Thanksgiving feasts organized in every corner.
Hari Raya Haji, also known as the Islamic festival of Sacrifice, is on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Dhul HIjja. The date is usually during the first two weeks of August (In 2020, it is on 31 July). The main attraction is the sacrifice of the animals such as cow and goat where families divide the meat into three parts; one is for them, one for the God and another for their relatives. However, in Singapore, wealthier families share their meat with ones who are not so financially able.
Singapore values its freedom, and it reflects during the national day. Every Year on August 9, Singaporeans celebrate the national holiday where they commemorate their independence which happened in 1965. The biggest attraction is the National Day Parade (usually held at Marina Bay) and the speech by their Prime Minister. Fireworks and entertainment programs are everywhere.
Singapore truly is colourful during Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights. It can fall anywhere between October and November and depends on the Hindu Calendar. The celebrations commemorate Rama reclaiming his throne after 14 years of banishment to the jungle and the victory of lightness over darkness. The streets are lively, with every Hindu and non-Hindu individual walking through fireworks, decorations, programs, and shopping sales.
Christmas Day is on December 25th every year. It commemorates the birth of Jesus, the son of God, according to the Christian religion. The Churches are full of worshippers, and places such as Marina Bay, Sentosa Island, Orchard Road and Gardens by the Bay are some favourite spots for people to celebrate. Having that said, the festival is not limited to Christians and is usually celebrated by Singaporeans of every background.