The Ministry of Manpower took advice from community leaders who all gave input on deciding which days would be named a public holiday in Singapore. Due to this inclusive decision-making the full cultural and religious breadth of Singapore is represented in the 11 official public holidays. There are other days celebrated by various groups in the population but government decided not to make more of them into a Public Holiday in Singapore due to the high cost this would have had on local businesses. If desired workers can 'exchange' days and work an official holiday in order to take a different day off instead. Amongst these days are the Christian Ascension Day, Muslim birthday of the prophet Mohammed, Muharran and Mawlid and the Hindu Thaipusan. If an official public holiday falls on a Sunday it is standard policy, as with other countries, for the Monday following to be the work-free day. The President has the discretion to name other days as public holidays should there be a need for it.
Almost everyone will be able to celebrate a relevant public holiday in Singapore; from the Christian Good Friday and Christmas Day to the Hindu Diwali, or festival of lights, all groups are catered for. Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Puasa or festival of Eid and Hari Raya Haji which is the festival of sacrifice or Greater Eid, while Buddhists have Vesak Day, informally and slightly inaccurately known as Buddha's Birthday. (It actually encapsulates his birth, enlightenment and passing away). Chinese New Year is a two-day official public holiday in Singapore, a fabulous festival of dragon dancers, fireworks and feasting.
New Year's Day is an official Public Holiday in Singapore as in many other countries in the world. Singapore Labour Day is another holiday shared by many other countries. The first day of May has long been associated with the coming of spring and although it is known by other names; 'May Day', 'Workers Day' and even 'Spring Bank Holiday', it is essentially a day off to appreciate the lengthening and warmer days.
The final official Public Holiday in Singapore is National Day, celebrated on the 9th August. The day begins with a National Parade, showcasing the armed forces, police and even groups of children such as Scouts. The President addresses the nation after the Parade and then there is a show featuring dancers, gymnasts and performers all demonstrating their skills in disciplined and colourful ranks. In the evening of National Day there is a glorious fireworks display. Hosted at the Marina Bay venue, the firework display has got better and bigger each year.
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