Public Holidays in Singapore
Singapore’s public holidays have been observed since the country’s 1966 Holidays Act and are about eleven in number. The secular holidays include National Day, Labor Day, and New Year’s Day, while each of the Lion City’s major local communities or religions have up to two more holidays in addition.
The Chinese, observe the Chinese New Year for two days; the Hindus celebrate Deepavali for a day, Buddhists observe Vesak Day while the Muslims observe two Islamic holidays, namely the Hari Raya Puasa, and Hari Raya Haji. For Christians, Christmas Day which is on the 25th of December and Good Friday, are the holidays they celebrate.
In Singapore, whenever a holiday falls on a Sunday, the following day is observed as a public holiday if it isn’t already one. For instance, in 2015 the country’s National Day (August 9) was on a Sunday. In view of that, August 7 and August 10 were declared public holidays in its stead. When a public holiday lands on a Saturday however, the following Monday is observed as a holiday for primary and secondary school students, if that particular Monday is not already a holiday.
The sitting president is endowed with power to declare any day as a public holiday either as a substitute for one of the days stipulated in the Holidays Act, or as an addition. He or she also has the power to declare any day as an additional holiday if two public holidays happen to land on the same day within that year.
Now let’s take a good look at Singapore’s public holidays in the list below.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is observed as a public holiday on the first of January, to mark the first day of the year on the Julian calendar as well as the modern Gregorian calendar.
Chinese New Year
This is a two-day public holiday observed by the country’s Chinese population to celebrate the start of a new year according to the traditional Chinese calendar. It usually occurs in January and February depending on when the winter season ends, and when the spring season begins.
The Christian Holiday, Good Friday is celebrated mostly between March and April to remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on Calvary. The dates however vary from year to year on both the Julian and Gregorian calendars.
This public holiday is celebrated annually across the world on the first day of May to commemorate the achievements of all workers.
Vesak Day is traditionally observed by Buddhists and Hindus to commemorate the birth of Buddhahood, its enlightenment as well as the death of Gautama Buddha. It typically occurs on a day between May and June.
Hari Raya Puasa
This Islamic Holiday literally means Day of Celebration and marks the end of the Ramadan, which is the religious group’s holy month of fasting. During this day, Muslims attend prayers, visit graveyards and feast in the evening with family and friends. It usually falls on the first day of Shawwal, which is the tenth month based on the Islamic calendar.
In Singapore, polling day marks a day for general and presidential elections and is considered a public holiday according to Section 17 of the presidential Elections Act and section 35 of the Parliamentary Elections Act.
Hari Raya Raji
Otherwise known as the Festival of Sacrifice or Eid al-Adha, this Islamic holiday is observed by Muslims worldwide to honor Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael in obedience to Allah. The holiday is observed on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. And this is actually the twelfth and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Hari Raya Haji also symbolizes the end of Hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Singapore’s National Day is benched on August 9 each year to commemorate the country’s independence from Malaysia in 1965. It is often characterized by fireworks celebrations, a National Day Parade as well as an address by the country’s Prime Minister.
Deepavali or Diwali is a Hindu festival to celebrate the victory light has had over darkness. The public holiday usually falls between mid-October and mid-November during the autumn season.
This public holiday is celebrated across the world by billions of people. Though it is a Christian holiday, several people observe it as a time of joy and reunion. Christmas Day is primarily observed on December 25, in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ.