Public holidays in Singapore

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The 11-major public holidays in Singapore reflect the cultural and religious diversity of the country. They include the Confucian holiday such: Chinese New Year (2-days), the Buddhist holiday of Vesak Day (1-day), the 2 Islamic holidays of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (1 Syawal) & Hari Raya Aidil Adha (10 Zulhijah), the Hindu holiday of Deepavali (1-day) & the 2 Christian holidays of Good Friday & Christmas Day (25 December).

This represents a carefully calibrated distribution of public holidays amongst the religious and ethnic communities in the country. Because of this, certain special days traditionally celebrated by locals have not been given public holiday status. These include Christian holidays such as Ascension Day, a celebration of the heavenly ascension of Jesus Christ, Islamic holidays such as Awal Muharram (1 Muharram), a celebration of the opening of the Islamic holiday & Maulidur Rasul (12 Rabiul Awal), a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad & Hindu holidays such as Thaipusam.

Public holiday[edit]

The days observed as general public holidays in Singapore are declared in the schedule to the Holidays Act.[1] According to the Ministry of Manpower, which issues a yearly list of the dates on which public holidays fall, the holidays were "chosen and agreed upon after close consultation with different community and religious leaders in Singapore".[2] Other factors taken into account were the impact on business costs and statutory leave provided for under the Employment Act.[3] Thus, some religious holidays such as Easter Monday, Mawlid (the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad) & Thaipusam were removed from the list of public holidays to improve business competitiveness.[2]

There are generally 11 public holidays a year. However, due to the differences between the Islamic calendar & the Gregorian calendar, Hari Raya Aidil Fitri & Hari Raya Aidil Adha are respectively celebrated twice in a Gregorian calendar year every 32 or 33 years. This occurred in 1968 and 2000 for Hari Raya Puasa and 2006 for Hari Raya Haji, giving Singaporeans 12 public holidays in those years.[2]

If any public holiday falls on a Sunday in Singapore, the following day is declared to be a public holiday if it is not itself already a public holiday.[4] Thus, since National Day (9 August) in 2009 landed on a Sunday, the following Monday (10 August) was a public holiday. In 2010, as Chinese New Year was celebrated on Sunday, 14 February & Monday, 15 February, the next day, Tuesday, 16 February, was also declared a public holiday. The President is empowered to declare any day to be observed as a public holiday in addition to or substitution for any day specified in the schedule to the Holidays Act, and may also declare any day in a year to be observed as an additional public holiday when in that year two public holidays fall on the same day.[5]

It is legal for employers to agree to give their employees other holidays in substitution for one or more public holidays.[6] No act or thing relating to any Government department or public authority, any judicial proceeding, any transaction, instrument or any other act or thing is rendered invalid where it is done or executed on a Sunday or public holiday.[7]

Under the Employment Act,[8] an employee who is required to work on a public holiday is entitled to an extra day's salary at the basic rate of pay, in addition to the gross rate of pay for that holiday.

In September 2009, a campaign by Zuji, an online travel agent, resulted in 5,616 people voting for another public holiday. One of the reasons given by the company for organising the campaign was that well-rested employees are more productive.[2]

2014 public holidays[edit]

2014 Gregorian Date Date on calendar English Name Chinese Name Malay Name Tamil Name Remarks Type
1 January Same New Year's Day 元旦/新年 Tahun Baru புத்தாண்டு Celebrates the opening of the Gregorian New Year. Gregorian
31 January-2 February 1st–3rd day of the 1st month Chinese New Year 農曆新年 Tahun Baru Cina/Hari Raya Cina சீனப் புத்தாண்டு Celebrates the opening of the Chinese holiday. Chinese
18 April Friday before Easter Good Friday 耶穌受難日 Hari Jumaat Agung புனித வெள்ளி This Christian holiday marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Christian
1 May Same Labour Day 勞動節 Hari Buruh தொழிலாளர் தினம் Celebrates the economic and social achievements of workers. Gregorian
13 May 15th day of the 4th month Vesak Day 衛塞節 Hari Wesak விசாக தினம் This Buddhist holiday celebrates the birth and enlightenment and Parinibbana of Gautama Buddha. Buddhist
28 July 1 Syawal Hari Raya Aidil Fitri 開齋節 Hari Raya Aidil Fitri நோன்புப் பெருநாள் This Islamic holiday celebrates the close of the fasting month of Ramadhan. Islamic
9 August Same National Day 國慶日 Hari Kebangsaan தேசிய தினம் Celebrates the independence of Singapore. Gregorian
5 October 10 Zulhijah Hari Raya Aidil Adha 哈芝節 Hari Raya Aidil Adha ஹஜ்ஜிப் பெருநாள் This Islamic holiday celebrates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to Allah. Islamic
23 October October-November Deepavali 屠妖節 Hari Deepavali தீபாவளித் திருநாள் The Hindu holiday celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana and vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna Hindu
25 December Same Christmas Day 聖誕節 Hari Krismas/Hari Natal கிறிஸ்துமஸ் பண்டிகை This Christian holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christian

School holidays[edit]

School terms and term holidays[edit]

The following tables list school term holidays observed by all students in national schools.

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Term Work time
Semester 1 and 2
All term 10 weeks
Test term (after term 4; to school/university new) 2 weeks
Mid Holiday 1 week
Full Holiday 1 month (and 2 weeks if after term 4)
Term 2014 dates Holiday after term
Semester 1
Term 1 6 January (Mon) – 14 March (Fri) 15 March (Sat) – 23 March (Sun)
Term 2 24 March (Mon) – 30 May (Fri) 31 May (Sat) – 29 June (Sun)
Semester 2
Term 3 30 June (Mon) – 5 September (Fri) 6 September (Sat) – 14 September (Sun)
Term 4 15 September (Mon) – 21 November (Fri) 22 November (Sat) – 4 January (Sun)

Junior colleges[edit]

Semester Term 2013 dates Holiday after term
Year 1
Semester 1 Term 1 1 February (Fri) – 15 March (Fri) 16 March (Sat) – 24 March (Sun)
Term 2 25 March (Mon) – 31 May (Fri) 1 June (Sat) – 30 June (Sun)
Semester 2 Term 3 1 July (Mon) – 6 September (Fri) 7 September (Sat) – 15 September (Sun)
Term 4 16 September (Mon) – 15 November (Fri) 16 November (Sat) – 31 December (Tue)
Year 2
Semester 1 Term 1 7 January (Mon) – 15 March (Fri) 16 March (Sat) – 24 March (Sun)
Term 2 25 March (Mon) – 31 May (Fri) 1 June (Sat) – 30 June (Sun)
Semester 2 Term 3 1 July (Mon) – 6 September (Fri) 7 September (Sat) – 15 September (Sun)
Term 4 16 September (Mon) – end of 'A' level exams End of 'A' level exams – 31 December (Tue)

Millennia Institute[edit]

Semester Term 2013 dates Holiday after term
Year 1
Semester 1 Term 1 1 February (Fri) – 15 March (Fri) 16 March (Sat) – 24 March (Sun)
Term 2 25 March (Mon) – 31 May (Fri) 1 June (Sat) – 30 June (Sun)
Semester 2 Term 3 1 July (Mon) – 6 September (Fri) 7 September (Sat) – 15 September (Sun)
Term 4 16 September (Mon) – 15 November (Fri) 16 November 2012 (Sat) – 31 December (Tue)
Year 2
Semester 1 Term 1 7 January (Mon) – 15 March (Fri) 16 March (Sat) – 24 March (Sun)
Term 2 25 March (Mon) – 31 May (Fri) 1 June (Sat) – 30 June (Sun)
Semester 2 Term 3 1 July (Mon) – 6 September (Fri) 7 September (Sat) – 15 September (Sun)
Term 4 16 September (Mon) – 15 November (Fri) 16 November (Sat) – 31 December (Tue)
Year 3
Semester 1 Term 1 7 January (Mon) – 15 March (Fri) 16 March (Sun) – 24 March (Sun)
Term 2 25 March (Mon) – 31 May (Fri) 1 June (Sat) – 30 June (Sun)
Semester 2 Term 3 1 July (Mon) – 6 September (Fri) 7 September (Sat) – 15 September (Sun)
Term 4 16 September (Mon) – end of 'A' level exams End of 'A' level exams – 31 December (Tue)

Other scheduled holidays[edit]

The following table lists scheduled school holidays observed by students in national schools. If a school holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is declared school holiday.

2013 date English Name Chinese Name Malay Name Tamil Name Remarks
7 July[9] Youth Day 青年節 Hari Belia இளைஞர் தினம் Date varies (first Sunday of July).
6 September Teachers' Day 教師節 Hari Guru ஆசிரியர் தினம் With effect from 2013, Teachers' day will be scheduled on the last working day of Term 3, before the September Term break starts; Celebrations are normally conducted the day before and students usually get half a day off.
4 October Children's Day 兒童節 Hari Kanak-kanak குழந்தையர் தினம் Date varies (1st Friday of October); observed in primary schools only.

Other special days observed[edit]

The following special days are observed or celebrated by significant segments of the Singaporean population, but are not public holidays.

2013 Gregorian Date Date on calendar English Name Chinese Name Malay Name Tamil Name Remarks Note
27 January 12 Rabiul Awal Birth of the Prophet 聖紀節 Maulidur Rasul மாவ்லித் This Islamic calendar celebrates the birthday of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Islamic
27 January January–February Thaipusam 大寶森節 Hari Thaipusam தைப்பூசம் Date varies according to Tamil calendar. Tamil
14 February Same Valentine's Day 情人節 Hari Valentine காதலர் தினம் Originally the feast day of St. Valentine, a Roman Catholic saint. Gregorian
15 February Same Total Defence Day 全民防衛日 Hari Pertahanan Mutlak முழுமைத் தற்காப்பு தினம் 15 February 1942 was the date of the surrender of Singapore by the British to the Japanese and the start of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. Gregorian
24 February 15th day of 1st lunar month Lantern Festival 元宵節 Pesta Tanglung விளக்கு திருவிழா This Chinese calendar celebrates the last day of Chinese New Year celebration. Chinese
8 March Same International Women's Day 國際婦女節 Hari Wanita Antarabangsa அனைத்துலக பெண்கள் தினம் Gregorian
30 March Saturday after Easter Holy Saturday 聖週六 Holy Sabtu புனித சனி This Christian holiday celebrates of before the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian
31 March Sunday first Easter Easter 復活節 Hari Easter (Paskah) ஈஸ்டர் This Christian holiday celebrates of after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian
4 April Same Qingming Festival 清明節 Perayaan Qingming சிங் மிங் தினம் This Chinese holiday celebrates the visit, clean and make offerings at ancestral gravesites of spring outing. Chinese
13 April 1st day of Vaisakh Baisakhi 拜薩哈節 Hari Baisakhi பைசாகி Celebrates the Hindu New Year and establishment of the Sikh Khalsa. Tamil
12 May Same Mother's Day 母親節 Hari Ibu அன்னையர் தினம் Commemorates the contributions of mothers. Gregorian
12 June 5th day of the 5th month Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 Pesta Kapal Naga நாகக் கப்பல் பந்தயம் Commemorates the death of patriotic poet Qu Yuan. Chinese
16 June Same Father's Day 父親節 Hari Bapa தந்தையர் தினம் Commemorates the contributions of fathers. Gregorian
1 July Same Singapore Armed Forces Day 新加坡武裝部隊日 Hari Angkatan Bersenjata Singapura சிங்கப்பூர் ஆயுதப்படை தினம் Gregorian
10 July-7 August 1–29 Ramadhan Start of Ramadhan (29-days) 開始的賴買丹月 (29個天) Awal Ramadhan (29-hari) ரமளான் மாதம் லாய் தொடங்குகிறது (29-நாட்கள்) This Islamic calendar celebrates the open of the fasting month of Ramadhan. Islamic
21 July Same Racial Harmony Day 種族和諧日 Hari Keharmonian Kaum இன நல்லிணக்க நாள் The 1st incident of the 1964 Race Riots in Singapore took place on 21 July 1964. Gregorian
28 August 15th day of the 7th month Hungry Ghost Festival 中元節 Perayaan Hantu Lapar பசிகொண்ட பூத விழா This Chinese holiday celebrates the burn fake paper money and make offerings to ancestors and the dead to appease them they will not come and trouble the living. Chinese
19 September 15th day of the 8th month Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節 Pesta Kuih Bulan / Pesta Tanglung திங்கள் விழா This Chinese holiday celebrates the eating of mooncake, family union meal and related to the legend of Chang E. Chinese
5 November 1 Muharram Islamic New Year 回曆新年 Awal Muharram இஸ்லாமிய புத்தாண்டு Celebrates the opening of the Islamic calendar. Islamic
24 December Same Christmas Eve 聖誕夜 Malam Krismas கிறிஸ்துமஸ் ஈவ் This Christian holiday celebrates of before the birth of Jesus Christ. Christian
26 December Same Boxing Day 節禮日 Hari Boxing பாக்ஸிங் டே This Christian holiday celebrates of after the of Christmas Day. Christian
31 December Same New Year's Eve 元旦夜 Malam Tahun Baru புத்தாண்டு ஈவ் Celebrates the closing of the Gregorian New Year. Gregorian

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holidays Act (Cap. 126, 1999 Rev. Ed.), s. 4(1).
  2. ^ a b c d Jeanette Wang (26 October 2009), "Public holidays: How S'pore compares", The Straits Times: B19 .
  3. ^ Employment Act (Cap. 91, 2009 Rev. Ed.).
  4. ^ Holidays Act, s. 4(2).
  5. ^ Holidays Act, ss. 5(1) and (2).
  6. ^ Holidays Act, s. 6.
  7. ^ Holidays Act, s. 7.
  8. ^ Employment Act (Cap. 91, 2009 Rev. Ed.)
  9. ^ As this scheduled school holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is also a scheduled school holiday.