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You know you are witnessing the lead-up to the country’s National Day when you hear the distinctive sound of helicopters and fighter planes overhead—a sure sign that the Republic of Singapore Airforce’s rehearsal for the National Day Parade’s aerial display is in full swing.

You’ll also see the island turning patriotic shades of red and white—largely from the flags fluttering from buildings, houses and even cars.

The little country that could
RSAF Helicopter carrying the Singapore flag

Photo by Andrew Tan

The Singapore story is well known—how it achieved independence on 9th August 1965 amid severe doubt it could survive at all with its tiny size and the lack of natural resources.

Yet the island has succeeded against the odds, as it deftly navigated stormy waters of domestic turmoil, regional strife, and international politics in its early days, to emerge on the world stage as a major commercial hub, financial centre and global player. 

A parade that dazzles
Fireworks during National Day Parade The Float @ Marina Bay

Photo by Choo Yut Shing

Since independence, Singapore has celebrated her history, triumph and successes with the National Day Parade, with the first-ever parade held in 1966 at The Padang.

Over the decades, this patriotic celebration has evolved to encompass a range of diverse venues and visual extravaganza. Audience members sit back to enjoy a stunning spectacle of military parades, multicultural song and dance performances and aerial high jinks capped by a breathtaking firework extravaganza, set against the stunning cityscape framed by the Marina Waterfront. 

If you're in the vicinity on a Saturday, be sure to stick around for the chance to witness the fireworks. While timings tend to vary, you'll be able to witness this spectacular display from around 8pm.

While National Day officially falls on the 9th of August, rehearsals for the parade begin three to four months in advance, with preview shows on the two weekends leading to the celebration.

2022's National Day theme—titled 'The Story of Us'— seeks to tell a tale of hope, transformation and survival, in homage to Singaporeans who have weathered the storm of COVID-19. 

Directed by lauded actor and director Adrian Pang, the show will comprise more than 2,000 performers, and pay tribute to families, healthcare frontliners and various community groups.

As part of this year's celebration, the Singapore Armed Forces will also stage a hostage rescue demonstration, while the navy's elite divers will demonstrate their mettle with an amphibious operation. 

What's Unique

It’s in the bag

First debuting in 1991, the funpack—our National Day Parade's version of a goodie bag—contains a variety of items for parade-goers, from snacks to bandanas and light sticks.

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