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Singapore National Day Parade - Brief History and Guide to NDP 2021

August 19, 2021
Singapore National Day Parade

The National Day of Singapore is a special day celebrated on 9th August every year in the island city. It is a public holiday, and it will be observed on Monday if 9th August happens to be a weekend. The day is celebrated to mark its sovereignty gained on 5th August 1965. The National Day Parade in Singapore is associated with the National Day that falls on 9th August every year, and it takes place at the Float at Marina Bay, the National Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub, or Padang. The parade is the main attraction of the day, and it includes six military contingents as well. The lion and the mass dragon are the other main attractions of the Singapore National Parade. The parade is mostly about the citizens using the occasion to affirm what they value most about the country.

A Brief History of the National Day Parade in Singapore

The inaugural National Day Parade (NDP) was started on the morning of 9th August as an independent nation in 1966. The country’s first President - Yusof bin Ishak, its first Prime Minister - Lee Kuan Yew were seated with other members of the government at the grandstand on the steps of City Hall. Six military contingents, a mobile column from the SIR marched past the City Hall along with various schools and civil contingents. Also, three military bands were present to accompany the parade inspection with military music. The Singapore Fire Brigade was also part of the first parade with its firetrucks included in the mobile column.

Several other introductions were featured for the parade over the years some of which include the appearance of the massed military bands of the SAF, the Red Lions Parachute team, card stunt, and the daylight fireworks. Later an electronic voting ticketing system was introduced due to overcrowding of tickets. A ballot was also conducted for the citizens to stand a chance at winning tickets for the events.

Here are a few photographs of National Day Parade from 1966 -2012.

Expected Changes for the National Parade 2021

Activities Will be Scaled-Down This Year

The National Parade is postponed to August 21 this year, which is a time after the end of the last restrictions related to the spread of Covid-19. However, a ceremonial parade had taken place on Aug 9th at the Marina Bay floating platform to mark Singapore’s 56th year after independence. It was quite similar to the parade held in 2020 at Padang.

The committee has released a logo for this year’s celebration that depicts a lion’s head embedded with the number 56 to signify Singapore's fifty-sixth year of independence and the unity and strength of the people of the island city.

Red Lions Displays and heartland fireworks were announced to take place on 7th and 8th August, but those were cancelled. The NDP rehearsals that were planned for 24th and its preview which was supposed to be held on 31st July were also cancelled. The restrictions got tightened for a month because of the emergence of a large cluster that was linked to Jurong Fishery Port. It was spread to over thirty markets and food centres. 

Performers Will Have to be Tested Regularly

Performers at the NDP will have to do antigen rapid testing before each rehearsal, even if they are fully vaccinated. The rehearsals take place in smaller groups. Dr Ng has announced that the Singapore Armed Forces have successfully achieved Covid-19 herd immunity, and over ninety per cent of them were vaccinated by July. 

The National Day celebrations for this day are cut down because of the novel coronavirus infection. F-15SG fighter jet aerial display and red lion free fall jump will be held at different locations around Singapore. There will also be a special tribute to the front line workers who are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Spectators Will Have to Get Fully Vaccinated

The parade usually sees a crowd of twenty-five thousand people every year, but it will be reduced this time considering the situation in Singapore by August 21st. The tickets for the parade will not be open for balloting unlike in the past years. Rather, preference to avail tickets will be given to the frontline workers, and volunteers to recognize their efforts. Other spectators who are above the age of twelve should also be fully vaccinated. They will also have to go for pre-event testing before they attend the parade.

Useful Gifts Will be Given Out

The Temasek Foundation will be giving out disposable masks and mouth spray after the National Day Parade. They think that would be great gifts for everyone this year. They are doing this in the hope of not worsening the already bad pandemic situation of the country. 

Watch National Day Parade in Singapore at Home

We were gutted when we realised National Day celebrations will be scaled down this year due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, news is there will be television-exclusive effects to mark the first of its kind virtual NDP performance. You can enjoy the parade on television and social media streaming channels at the comfort of your home.

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