Singapore Public Holidays: Celebrations & Dates

7 min read|Last Updated: May 14, 2024|

Singapore has consistently been ranked as one of the world’s best places to work, live, and start a company. That’s why people from all over the world come to Singapore, creating a diverse community of people with various cultural and religious backgrounds.

This unique mix has put Singapore on the map as a multicultural country with an array of celebrations that are observed throughout the year.

Key Public Holidays Celebrated in Singapore

As a nation that celebrates diversity and multiculturalism, 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.

The table highlighted all Key Public Holidays in Singapore

Key Public Holidays What is the occasion about?
New Years Day
  • The start of the new year with global celebrations.
  • New Year’s Eve Countdown Parties are held at several locations, with the most popular waterfront events being ‘The Marina Bay Singapore Countdown’ and ‘Siloso Beach Party’.
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
Good Friday
  • Takes place the Friday before Easter, and is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary.
Labour Day
  • An annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. It serves as a mark of solidarity amongst workers.
Vesak Day
  • Vesak, also known as Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Buddha Day, and Phật Đản, is a holiday traditionally observed by Buddhists.
  • It is known as the day when Vesak attained his enlightenment.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri
  • Also known as Hari Raya Puasa or Eid al-Fitr
  • Marks the end of Ramadan when 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”
  • The day is spent praying at the mosque and sharing one’s wealth with the less privileged
  • Usually celebrated with bazaars
Deepavali
  • The 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
Christmas
  • The season of giving, celebrated mostly by Christians
  • Visit the world-famous Orchard Road for stunning Christmas decorations along its streets

Note

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.

List of Singapore Public Holidays 2023

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 2023!

List of Public Holidays in 2024 Description
New Year’s Day: January 1, 2024 The year kicks off with New Year’s Day, a time for Singaporeans to welcome the new year with fireworks, festivities, and resolutions.
Chinese New Year: January 22 and 23, 2024 The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is one of the most significant celebrations in Singapore. In 2024, the Year of the Dragon is welcomed with two days of public holiday.
Good Friday: March 29, 2024 Good Friday is a solemn day commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Labour Day: May 1, 2024 Labour Day, or May Day, is a day to honour the contributions and achievements of workers.
Vesak Day: May 23, 2024 Vesak Day is a significant day for Buddhists, marking the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.
Hari Raya Puasa: March 10, 2024 Hari Raya Puasa celebrates the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It’s a time of feasting, forgiveness, and rejoicing with family and friends.
Hari Raya Aidiladha: June 17, 2024 Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice is the second of the two main holidays celebrated in Islam.
National Day: August 9, 2024 Singapore’s National Day is a proud celebration of its independence.
Deepavali: November 2, 2024 Deepavali, or Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by the Hindu community.
Christmas Day: December 25, 2024 Christmas in Singapore is a festive celebration with a tropical twist.

Employees’ Entitlements on Public Holidays in Singapore

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:

  • The 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

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.

These guidelines are in accordance with Singapore’s Employment Act and are to be followed by all employers in Singapore.

If you are looking to work or live in Singapore for more than a year, do reach out to us to learn more about:

History of Public Holidays in Singapore

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
  • Thaipusam
  • Holy Saturday
  • Easter Monday
  • Boxing Day

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 the 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 a similar number of public holidays, with the exception of Indonesia who has 16!

Countries No. of Public Holidays
Singapore 11 days
Vietnam 11 days
Malaysia 12 days
The Philippines 12 days
Indonesia 16 days

Public Holidays & Their Occasions

The similarities when it comes to the public holidays include:

  1. Labour Day
  2. National Day
  3. New Year’s Day
Letitia

While there are common public holidays, there are also differences that denote the cultural differences between the countries:

  1. All the countries in comparison celebrate the Lunar New Year except the Philippines
  2. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a two-day public holiday in Indonesia and Malaysia
  3. Other Islamic festivals are also celebrated as public holidays in Indonesia and Malaysia
  4. 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 multiculturalism. Staying true to their ethos and values, Singapore public holidays represent a great reflection of our identity, where all four core religions are celebrated as holidays.

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FAQs

Are part-timers entitled to holiday pay if they must work on public holidays in Singapore?2020-12-04T15:35:14+08:00

Yes.  Part-timers are entitled to holiday pay too if they must work on public holidays in Singapore. 

I am a student. Do I have a replacement holiday if the public holiday falls on Saturday in Singapore?2020-12-04T15:35:00+08:00

Yes. If you are a primary or secondary school student, you do have a replacement holiday on the following Monday if the public holidays fall on a Saturday. 

What happens if I must work on a public holiday in Singapore?2020-12-04T15:34:42+08:00

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?2020-12-04T15:33:41+08:00

In Singapore, if a public holiday falls on Sunday, the following Monday will be declared as a replacement holiday. 

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