The first major holiday of the year in Singapore is, of course, New Year’s Day. As in countries such as the USA, Australia and China, 1st January is a public holiday and a day off from work for most people. If New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, Monday 2nd January will be a public holiday in Singapore.
It is traditional to spend New Year’s Day with the family, for example enjoying a meal together and catching up with relatives perhaps not seen over Christmas. Most shops and restaurants in Singapore are open as normal on New Year’s Day, especially in the Central Area, and they are busy with tourists visiting for the holidays. However, some establishments are closed or have shorter opening times. Many people celebrate New Year’s Day by enjoying luxurious food and drink, such as a champagne brunch or afternoon tea.
New Year Day Celebrations in Singapore
Many people choose to spend the day relaxing after the parties and celebrations of the night before, New Year’s Eve. Singapore welcomes in the new year like many other major cities, with a countdown followed by a spectacular firework display. The fireworks are accompanied by performances by local musicians. This takes place at Marina Bay, in the southern part of the city near the Central Area. Parties, concerts and other events are also held in Clarke’s Quay and Siloso Beach at Sentosa.
One of the popular traditions in Singapore on New Year’s Eve is to watch the release of the Wishing Spheres at Marina Bay. Even the Prime Minister has taken part in the project, which has occurred annually since 2005. The idea is for people who live in or visit Singapore in November and December to write a heartfelt wish for the new year ahead on a white sphere-shaped balloon. The spheres are set afloat in the bay in New Year’s Eve, creating a remarkable vision that represents hope and light. And of course, all the thousands of spheres are recycled each year, in keeping with the city’s commitment to green living.
New Year’s Day is the first day of the year on the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century. Due to its Catholic roots it is also known as the Christian calendar, but is the most widely used calendar worldwide, including in non-Christian or secular nations such as Singapore. Only a small number of countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia, do not use the Gregorian calendar for any purposes.
Although the Gregorian calendar is used in Singapore, the country also marks the Chinese New Year with a public holiday, to show respect to the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the country and its residents.
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