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Singapore celebrations for National Day

Crowds celebrating National Day in previous years - 2020's event will be a more muted affair (photo courtesy Unsplash/Rogan Yeoh).

Singapore National Day is celebrated every year on August 9. The public holiday is held to commemorate Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965.

The holiday usually features a National Day Parade, an address by the prime minister and fireworks.

The modern state of Singapore dates back to its founding in the early nineteenth century. In 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles negotiated a treaty which meant the ruling Johor Sultanate permitted the British to locate a trading port on the island. This led to the establishment of the British Crown Colony of Singapore in 1819.

During the Second World War, Singapore fell to the Japanese Empire in 1942. When the war ended in 1945, Singapore reverted to British control, but with increasing levels of self-government being granted.

In 1963, Singapore merged with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia. But disputes and unrest meant Singapore was expelled by Malaysia and it became an independent republic on August 9, 1965.

This year’s National Day event has been themed ‘Together, A Stronger Singapore’. Following the pandemic, it will focus on allowing Singaporeans to celebrate from home instead of in a central location. Many segments of the day streamed live on television and internet platforms. This year, no more than 200 people will take part in the parade, compared with 1,800 participants last year.

Highlights include the maritime sail-past making a return after 20 years. Thirteen vessels will take to the water at 10.50am, setting sail from Marina South Pier. The event will also be broadcast live on television.

The scaled down National Day Parade will this year be broken up into segments. A morning parade and ceremony will be held from 10.20am at Padang, the site of Singapore’s first National Day Parade in 1966, and there will be an evening show at The Star Performing Arts Centre.

The morning parade will kick-off with the prime minister’s National Day Message. The annual National Day Message has been a tradition since 1966 when the prime minister reviews Singapore’s economic performance and outlook and outlines national priorities and government plans.

It will be followed with a presidential gun salute and the national anthem and state flag flypast at 10.30am. There will be concurrent flag-raising ceremonies across Singapore as the national anthem is played.

The eastern parade route will include Marine Parade, Pasir Ris and Punggol, and the western parade will cover West Coast, Woodlands, Jurong West and Macritchie Reservoir.

At 10.45am, six F-15SGs will roar over eight hospitals as a show of appreciation for frontline workers.

The evening show will comprise a light-up moment at around 8.20pm when residents can light up their phones with the red filter stickers found inside the Singapore Together National Day funpacks to show appreciation for frontline workers. There will then be fireworks displays in more than ten different locations across Singapore.

Singapore Together funpacks are available for all Singaporean and permanent resident households.

Because August 9 falls on a Sunday this year, Monday August 10 will also be a public holiday.


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