Public holidays in Singapore
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There are eleven public holidays in Singapore. Each major local race and religion have two holidays each in addition to the secular holidays of New Year's Day, Labour Day and National Day. For the Chinese, Chinese New Year (two days) and the Buddhist holiday Vesak Day (one day) are also observed. For the Hindus, the Hindu holiday of Vesak Day and Deepavali (one day each) are celebrated. For the Malays, the two Islamic holidays of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (one day on 1 Syawal) and Hari Raya Aidil Adha (one day on 10 Zulhijah) are celebrated. As for the Christians, the two Christian holidays of Good Friday and Christmas Day (25 December) are celebrated. These public holidays have been recognised since Singapore's 1968 Employment Act.
List of public holidays in Singapore
There are generally 11 public holidays a year. However, due to the differences between the Islamic calendar and the Gregorian calendar, Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and 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 as well as 1974 and 2006 for Hari Raya Haji, giving Singaporeans 12 public holidays in those years.
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. Thus, since National Day (9 August) in 2015 landed on a Sunday, two additional holidays were given (on August 7 and August 10). 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.
|1 January||New Year's Day|
|January/February||Lunar New Year||A two-day holiday. An important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional Chinese calendar.|
|March/April||Good Friday||A Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.|
|1 May||Labour Day||May Day (or Labour Day) is celebrated as a mark of solidarity amongst workers.|
|May||Vesak Day||A holiday observed traditionally by Hindus & Buddhists|
|9 August||National Day||In commemoration of Singapore's independence from Malaysia in the year 1965.|
|October/November||Deepavali||Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn.|
|25 December||Christmas Day||An annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.|
|moveable||Hari Raya Aidil Fitri||An important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm).|
|moveable||Hari Raya Aidiladha||Observed by Muslims.|
General / Presidential Elections
Polling Day (for a general election or a presidential election) is a public holiday.
Under Section 35 of the Parliamentary Elections Act and Section 17 of the Presidential Elections Act, Polling Day (for a general election or a presidential election) is a public holiday. By-elections are not covered under the act. As per public holidays falling on a Saturday, under the Employment Act, employees not required to work on that day are entitled to one day off in lieu or be given one day's pay.
It is legal for employers to agree to give their employees other holidays in substitution for one or more public holidays. 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.
Under the Employment Act, 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.
The days observed as general public holidays in Singapore are declared in the schedule to the Holidays Act. 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". Other factors taken into account were the impact on business costs and statutory leave provided for under the Employment Act. Thus, some religious holidays such as Easter Monday, Mawlid (the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad), Boxing Day and Thaipusam were removed from the list of public holidays to improve business competitiveness.
Past public holidays
Up to and including 1968, Thaipusam, second day of Hari Raya Puasa, Birthday of Prophet Mohamed, Holy Saturday, Easter Monday and Boxing Day also known as the second day of Christmas were also gazetted as public holidays.
A Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai.
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day.
Easter Monday in the Western Christian liturgical calendar is the second day of Eastertide and analogously in the Byzantine Rite is the second day of Bright Week.
Holy Saturday ,the Saturday of Holy Week, also known as the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday, or Easter Eve, and called "Joyous Saturday" or "the Saturday of Light" among Coptic Christians, is the day after Good Friday.
Birthday of prophet Muhammad
The observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which is celebrated in Rabi' al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.
- Jeanette Wang (26 October 2009), "Public holidays: How S'pore compares", The Straits Times, p. B19.
- Holidays Act, s. 4(2).
- Holidays Act, ss. 5(1) and (2).
- "Public Holidays 2011".
- Holidays Act, s. 6.
- Holidays Act, s. 7.
- Employment Act (Cap. 91, 2009 Rev. Ed.)
- Holidays Act (Cap. 126, 1999 Rev. Ed.), s. 4(1).
- Employment Act (Cap. 91, 2009 Rev. Ed.).