This unique mix has put Singapore on the map as a multi-cultural country with an array of celebrations that are observed through the year.
Key Public Holidays Celebrated in Singapore
As a nation that celebrates diversity and multi-culturalism, we have public holidays for each of our ethnic groups – Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian. These festivals are considered the main public holidays for Singaporeans, alongside National Day, which falls on August 9 every year, to celebrate the nation’s independence.
Key Public Holidays
What is the occasion about?
Chinese New Year
Marks the start of the lunar new year
Only public holiday in Singapore that has 2 consecutive non-working days
Best place to visit during this time: Chinatown
Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Also known as Hari Raya Puasa or Eid al-Fitr
Marks the end of Ramadan where Muslims fast during daylight hours
Singapore National Day
Marks Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965
Often celebrated with live parade, performances, fireworks, festive sales, and activities
Aims to bring out the Singapore spirit
Hari Raya Haji
Also known as Hari Raya Qurban or Eid al-Adha – “Festival of the Sacrifice”
Day is spent praying at the mosque and sharing of one’s wealth with the less privileged
Usually celebrated with bazaars
Most important festival for our Hindu community
Symbolises the triumph of light over darkness – the victory of good over evil
Visit Little India for colourful and spectacular light-ups and decorations
The season of giving, celebrated mostly by Christians
Visit the world-famous Orchard Road for stunning Christmas decorations along its streets
Aside from those, if there is a general or presidential election in Singapore, Polling Day will also be an official public holiday. This is the government’s way of encouraging the Singaporean popular to exercise their rights and duties to the country by casting their vote. However, by-elections are not considered as a public holiday.
Singapore Public Holidays 2021
With the dates of each public holiday differing every calendar year, here’s a quick look at the full list of public holidays in Singapore in 2021!
Employees’ Entitlements on Public Holidays
When it comes to the business end of public holidays, new employers in Singapore need to know that all their employees are entitled to be paid the gross rate of pay for every public holiday if:
The employee was not absent on a working day immediately before or after a holiday without a valid reason.
The employee was or will be on authorized leave on the day immediately before or after a holiday.
In any event that you would require your employees to work on a public holiday:
Company will be required to pay an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay
Companies may have a mutual agreement with employees to substitute a public holiday for another working day
While such agreements are perfectly legal, please make sure that it is properly communicated to avoid any disputes!
For those working in managerial or executive positions:
Time off in lieu of the public holiday may be given – this amount depends on the agreed number of hours.
Did you know that many years ago until 1968, Singapore had an additional six public holidays? These six public holidays were:
Celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad
Additional Hari Raya Aidfilfitri holiday
The reason why these public holidays were removed by the Ministry of Manpower was to improve the nation’s business competitiveness as this means a reduction of business costs incurred by Singapore companies, and mitigate the impact brought about by statutory leave.
How Singapore’s Public Holidays Compare to Those of Its Neighbours
To put things into perspective on how the Singaporean government stands regionally when it comes to public holidays, let’s take a look at how nation’s public holidays compare to our Southeast Asian neighbours – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Number of Public Holidays in Each Country
Most of the four countries have similar number of public holidays, with the exception of Indonesia who has 16!
No. of Public Holidays
Public Holidays & Their Occasions
The similarities when it comes to the public holidays include:
New Year’s Day
Note: New Year’s Day is not a nationwide public holiday in Malaysia although it is observed by most
While there are common public holidays, there are also differences that denotes the cultural differences between the countries:
All the countries in comparison celebrate Lunar New Year except the Philippines
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a two-day public holiday in Indonesia and Malaysia
Other Islamic festivals are also celebrated as public holidays in Indonesia and Malaysia
The Philippines also celebrates more Christian festivals
The Singapore Identity Through Public Holidays
Singapore has carved out a unique place for itself in the world today by celebrating its deep cultural heritage and multi-culturalism. Staying true to their ethos and values, Singapore public holidays represents a great reflection of our identity, where all four core religions are celebrated as holidays.
According to the Employment Act, if you must work on a public holiday in Singapore, you are entitled to an extra day’s salary at your basic rate of pay, on top of the gross rate of pay for that public holiday.
What happens if the public holiday falls on Sunday in Singapore?Tiwi2020-12-04T15:33:41+08:00