Singapore is one of the biggest melting pots in the world. It includes several ethnicities, such as Chinese, Malay, and Indian. it is home to several different cultures and religions.
This world-renowned financial hub adapted to this diversity. It observes many public holidays that often cater to different religions. Despite being an Asian city, Singapore has been heavily influenced by European culture. The Singaporean holiday is thus a mixture of both Asian and European influences. Many are related to various religions, some of which westerners likely don’t know much about. To avoid possible cultural shock, you should acquaint yourself with these days off.
Doing so will also help you understand how many days you’ll have to work each year. This is helpful when it comes to creating financial plans and managing your free time.
Whether you plan to work in Singapore, or just travel there for a vacation, knowing these holidays will certainly come in handy. In this article, we’ll tell you about all the Singapore public holidays you need to mark on your calendar.
What are the holidays in Singapore like?
Singapore observes 10 public holidays each year. Half of them are movable and half fixed. 7 of these holidays are related to religions such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The remaining three celebrate cultural and national events.
Half of Singapore holidays are movable because they don’t follow the Gregorian calendar.
Singaporeans celebrate the following 10 holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Chinese New Year’s Festival
- Good Friday
- Labor Day
- Eid-al Fitr
- Vesak Day
- Hari Raya Haji
- Independence (National) Day
- Christmas Day
The president is authorized to add additional public holidays as he sees fit. In Singapore, holidays that fall on a weekend move to the following Monday instead.
5 Movable Singapore public holidays to remember
Movable holidays in Singapore are all linked to religion. They’re not fixed because they don’t follow the Gregorian calendar. Instead, they’re based on either the lunar, Islamic, or Indian calendar.
Chinese New Year Festival
With such a huge Chinese population, it’s no surprise that Singapore decided to make Chinese New Year a public holiday. In many Asian cultures, the lunar new year is much more important than the standard one.
Since the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon, it falls on a different day each year. However, it always happens between the winter solstice and early spring. The festivities last for two to three days. Should it fall on a weekend, it’s moved to the following Monday.
Eid al Fitr
Eid al Fitr or Hari Raya Puasa is a Muslim religious holiday. It celebrates the end of Ramadan, a holy month in the Islamic religion. The month is marked by repentance and fasting. It’s also the time during which Muslims express their love for one another.
This month shifts from year to year as it follows the Islamic calendar.
Vesak Day is a public Singapore holiday dedicated to Buddhists. It celebrates the birth and life of Buddha. Most institutions close down on this day. This day is based on the lunar calendar, hence why it is movable.
It typically falls on the night of the full moon during the fourth lunar month. It moves to Monday if it would fall on a weekend otherwise.
Hari Raya Haji
Hari Raya Haji or Eid al-Adha is a Muslim holiday celebrating the Haj pilgrimage. In Malay, the words Hari Raya Haji stand for the great day of Haj. This religious holiday commemorates the day when God spared prophet Ibrahim’s son by giving him a ram to sacrifice instead.
Hari Raya Haji doesn’t have a fixed day according to the Gregorian calendar. This public holiday falls on the 10th day of Zu al-Hijja, which is the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.
Most institutions don’t operate on this day. While the public holiday lasts only one day, the festivities often continue for up to four days later.
Deepavali or Diwali is a Hindu religious tradition. It celebrates the day when good and light conquered evil and darkness. Hindu families often decorate their homes with lights and give each other presents.
Deepavali shifts every year as it depends on the Indian calendar. It typically occurs between October and November. When it falls on a weekend, it’s moved to the next Monday instead. Most institutions are closed on this day.
5 non-movable Singapore holidays you should know about
Non-movable holidays in Singapore follow the Gregorian calendar and are thus fixed (except for Good Friday). Other than Christmas Day and Good Friday, they’re related to cultural and national events.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is celebrated in many countries across the world, including Singapore. It falls on the 1st of January. It’s preceded by countdowns and many citizens choose to stay up through the night to greet the new year.
Labor Day is an international holiday celebrated in most countries. It celebrates the achievements of workers and the creation of a healthy work environment.
Most businesses close down on this day. If it falls on a weekend, it’s moved to a substitute weekday instead.
National Day of Singapore
National Day of Singapore falls on the 9th of August. Singaporeans celebrate the day they gained their independence from Malaysia, which happened in 1965. It automatically moves to the next Monday when it falls into a weekend. This day is often marked with fireworks and military parades.
This is the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. Christians remember the day Jesus Christ died on this day. Through his death, he ensured mankind’s salvation.
Businesses are mostly closed on this day.
The second Christian holiday in Singapore is Christmas day. It falls on the 25th of December and celebrates the birth of baby Jesus. Only vital institutions such as hospitals and security function on this day. If it falls on a weekend, it’s moved to another day instead.
Are you eligible for holiday pay in Singapore?
Based on the Employment Act, you are eligible for holiday pay in Singapore. However, this is true only for the Chinese New Year’s Festival holiday. To qualify, you must meet the following 2 conditions:
- You went to work the day before and after the holiday
- You aren’t on authorized leave
You are eligible for a substitute holiday with pay if it otherwise falls on a weekend. If it falls on a workday, you are eligible for an extra day’s salary instead.
FAQ about the Singapore public holidays
How many public holidays are there in Singapore?
There are now 11 public holidays observed in Singapore, including Deepavali, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Labour Day, Hari Raya Puasa, National Day, and Hari Raya Haji.
What are the dates of the upcoming public holidays in Singapore?
The following Singaporean public holidays are Labour Day on May 1, Vesak Day on May 26, and Hari Raya Puasa on June 24 as of April 2023.
Are public holidays in Singapore always on the same date every year?
No, Singapore’s public holidays don’t always fall on the same day. The lunar calendar determines the dates of various public holidays, including Chinese New Year, Vesak Day, and Hari Raya Puasa.
What are the most important public holidays in Singapore?
National Day, which honors Singapore’s independence, and Chinese New Year, the largest and most significant cultural event for the Chinese community, are the two major public holidays in Singapore.
Do people in Singapore get an extra day off if a public holiday falls on a weekend?
Yes, those who work a 5-day workweek are entitled to an additional day off on the Monday after a public holiday that falls on a Saturday. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday.
Are shops and restaurants open on public holidays in Singapore?
On public holidays in Singapore, the majority of businesses are open, while some may have shortened hours or be closed. Hospitals, police stations, and transportation agencies are essential services that continue to run normally.
What types of celebrations or events are associated with Singapore’s public holidays?
Depending on the holiday, different festivities and activities are held in Singapore. For instance, there are customary lion dances, parades, and feasts around Chinese New Year. A parade and fireworks show are both held on National Day.
Do foreign workers and expatriates in Singapore get public holidays off?
Indeed, much like local employees, expatriates and international workers in Singapore are entitled to paid holidays.
How are public holidays in Singapore celebrated?
Depending on the holiday, Singaporeans observe public holidays in a variety of ways. Some people go to see family and friends, go to church, or take part in cultural activities. Some people might use the chance to go on vacation or partake in other pastimes.
Are there any restrictions or guidelines on what people can or cannot do on public holidays in Singapore?
In Singapore, there are no set rules or limits on what may or cannot be done on public holidays, but everyone is expected to act properly and in compliance with regional laws and customs. Respecting the religious and cultural significance of some holidays is also vital.
Our final thoughts on Singapore public holidays
Singapore is an enchanting, prosperous country. Allured by its beauty, many tourists visit it every year. But some might be surprised to see that institutions close down on days they didn’t expect. This is because Singapore has 10 public holidays that cater to multiple cultures.
If you come from a western country, you might be surprised that most of these holidays are religious. Many are related to the Muslim, Hindu, and even Buddhist faiths. Typical Christian holidays are also celebrated.
Knowing about these holidays is even more important if you plan to work in Singapore. Understanding your yearly working days can help you manage your time and finances better.
If you liked this article about Singapore public holidays, you should check out this one on how many working days there are in a year.
You should also check out these other articles of ours about public holidays in Japan, South Korean holidays, French public holidays, New Zealand holidays, and also public holidays in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US.