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Timings : 9 August every year

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Singapore National Day, Singapore Overview

"One Heart, One Nation, One Singapore."
Celebrated each year on August 9, the National Day of Singapore is the celebration of Singapore's freedom from Malaysia in 1965. The celebrations begin with a National Day Parade and end with beautiful fireworks. Held at the Marina Bay, National Day celebrations involve an address by the Prime Minister, followed by a dazzling show of fireworks. While the National Day of Singapore is celebrated on 9th August each year, the rehearsals for it begins atleast 3 to 4 months in advance and the preview shows begin around two weeks in advance.

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Story of Singapore's Independence

A day that awakens patriotism in us and makes us commemorate the martyrs who fought for our freedom is the National Day. Singapore, the global financial centre and a melting pot of several religions, also observes a day in remembrance of its independence from Malaysia in the year 1965. Dating back to 1963, Singapore, Sabah, the Federation of Malaya, and Sarawak was brought together with the aim of creating Malaysia. But, due to the political and social unrest among the ruling parties which also caused communal tensions leading to 1964 racial riots, Singapore parted its ways from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, making itself an independent and sovereign state. Since then this day is celebrated as Singapore's National Day. It is the day when Singaporeans unite and share their joys. 

National Day Parade

Venue: The venue for the parade was usually the heritage grounds of Padang. Here, at this place, Singapore was declared as a free nation followed by the first parade which took place in 1966. It was still 1974 that the parade was held in the Padang as after that the ceremony of 1976 took place in the newly constructed National Stadium. The stadium has more capacity, hence more people could join to witness the beauty of this parade. From then, the Floating Platform, Marina Bay gets to host the National Day Parade of Singapore.

National Day Singapore
The Floating Platform at Marina Bay (Source
The celebration of Singapore's National Day incorporates a theme which is reflected in the parade celebrations. The National Day Parade essentially involves mass-displays, marchpasts, school band displays, sky-diving displays, choir performances, and similar light-hearted performances to keep the spectators intact. Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Singapore Police Force, representatives of the People's Action Party, Labour Unions, Ministries, students from National Cadet Corps, National Civil Defence Cadet Corps, National Police Cadet Corps and the Singapore Red Cross, the Boys' and Girls' Brigades are all a significant part of the parade. 

Demonstrating the country's military defensive and offensive capabilities, the Singapore Air Force flies pas the heads of audiences with many of its breathtaking aircraft. This flypast is being continuously performed in on the Parade Day since 1970. The show also consists of 3 main acts that are followed by a Grand Finale or a song based on the theme.

Singapore National Day
The National Day Parade (Source)
Post-Parade: As soon as the National Day Parade gets over, the celebrations continue for an hour at the end of which the Chief of Defence Force, the Organizers of the event, and the Chairman of that year's NDP EXCO cut a cake in the gratitude of all participants for their incredible performances. The SAF Music and Drama Company is the anchor of this party. 

The spectators to the show also get a free goodie bag, called the National Day Parade Funpack. The design for these lightweight bags containing snacks, drinks and useful items like lightsticks vary each year.

National Day Message

The National Day Message is delivered by the Prime Minister every year. Starting from 1966, the incumbent Prime Minister records a message to the Singaporean people on the occasion of National Day, which is then telecast to the public on August 9. The message covers important domestic and international developments, acknowledges achievements and shortcomings, and aspires to unite Singaporeans to look to the future with purpose and hope. The National Day message serves as a beacon of faith and optimism, outlining national plans and policies too.

National Day Rally

The National Day Rally takes place on every first or second Sunday that falls after the National Day. Being organised since 1966, it is an annual event in which the Prime Minister of Singapore addresses the entire nation with the key challenges and future discussions. It began as a private meeting between the community leaders and the Prime Minister, the transcript of which was released after two weeks from the day it took place. In 1971, Lee Kuan Yew decided to televise the speech, and since then the rally is broadcasted live every year.

Singapore Fireworks Celebrations

The sky lightens up like never before. The beauty so unimaginable, the vision to be cherished forever - this is what Singapore's night sky looks like on 9 August every year. The celebrations feature several national and international firework teams who spread this blissful magic in the laps of darkness, brightening it in a way no one can ever think of.  The fireworks first took place in 2004 at Marina Bay and the event was then called as Singapore Fireworks Festival. Since then, the amount of fireworks, happiness, and amazement has grown to 2000%.

Singapore National Day
The bewitching Singapore Fireworks Celebrations at Marina Bay (Source)

Where to Go to Watch Singapore's National Day Celebrations

These locations provide a perfect vantage point to watch the firework show and the parade. Make sure to reach in advance to save a good spot.

Marina Bay Waterfront: Overlooking the Singapore skyline, the Marina Bay waterfront is a free way to watch the parade and celebrations. The giant LED screens set up in the area give visitors unmatchable views of the festivities.

Gardens by the Bay: Head over to Bay East Garden to watch the fireworks amongst towering tree-like structures – this ethereal ambience is perfect to marvel at the celebrations with a loved one.

Singapore Flyer: At 165 metres above the ground, this magnificent slow-moving Ferris wheel is a great option to watch the festivities and fireworks with a birds’ eye view. The evening fireworks look breathtaking from this point. Keep in mind that tickets need to be booked weeks in advance to get a seat in the Flyer.

Helix Bridge and Benjamin Sheares Bridge: Located close to the firework display, these gorgeous architectural marvels are stunning vantage points to watch the show and get some spectacular photos as well. Keep in mind that this area is quite crowded in the evening.

Esplanade Bridge and Jubilee Bridge: Get views on par with Merlion Park at the Esplanade and Jubilee Bridges – this is a much more convenient and crowd-friendly location to watch the entire show.

Marina Barrage: Located across the Marina Channel, this sprawling lawn is perfect for enjoying a leisurely evening picnic and catching the fireworks against the Singapore skyline, flanked by the Singapore Flyer.

How to Reach Padang

Road: The roads leading to Padang are partially closed on the days leading to National Day, during the previews and rehearsals. Pedestrians are allowed through designated routes, and visitors are advised to use only public transportation to access these roads during closure. As most of the roads are closed for 24 hours, it is best to avoid using them or The following routes are closed on June 15, 22 and 29, July 6, 13, 20 and 27, and August 3 and 9.
North Bridge Road, Parliament Place, Supreme Court Lane, Coleman Street, Connaught Drive, St Andrew’s Road, Beach Road, Nicoll Highways, Stamford Road, Raffles Link, Raffles Avenue, Bras Basah Road, Esplanade Drive, Republic Avenue, Fullerton Road, and Bayfront Avenue.  

MRT: The nearest open MRT Station is at Raffles Place.

Taxi/Car: The nearest taxi drop-off point is at the Fullerton Hotel. Parking is also available here. Keep in mind that cards parked in closed roads will be towed.

Screenings of National Day of Singapore

Scoring tickets to the parade can often be a hassle – that’s why the entire parade is broadcast live throughout the island at community centres in huge LED screens. Eager watchers flock the screening areas at the Marina Bay area to get an up-close-and-personal view of the parade, floats, and aerial formations.

Ticketed Previews of National Day
Don’t let overenthusiastic crowds stand in the way of admiring the visual spectacle of the National Day Parade – visitors can opt for paid previews of the Parade Rehearsal, held on July 27 and August 3. This is a great option for tourists to witness the mesmerising parade demonstrations of the Singapore Armed Forces, Police Force, Civil Defence Force, People’s Action Party, the Scouts, and other labour organisations. The Singapore Air Force’s aerial formations are a sight to behold – the fly-past over the parade is executed with precision and grace.

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