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.

Since then, the patriotic celebration has evolved to encompass a range of diverse venues – from the former National Stadium (now the Singapore Sports Hub) to the Marina Bay floating platform with its stunning view of the city’s iconic skyline.

The performance and theme changes up each year, but as part of the annual festivities, audience members enjoy a stunning spectacle of military parades, multicultural song and dance performances and aerial high jinks capped by a breathtaking firework extravaganza.

If you're in the vicinity on a Saturday, be sure to stick around for the chance to witness the latter. 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.

2023’s National Day Parade will return to its historic home at The Padang. This year’s  theme—entitled ‘Onward as One’ — will revolve around a message of hope, confidence and determination as the nation comes together to build a shared future.

Directed by feted local film maker Royston Tan, 2023’s NDP show will comprise four live acts, with 43 talented artistes and 2400 performers from all walks of life, celebrating the resilience of and tenacity of Singapore’s spirit.

This spectacular performance will be interwoven with three short films, featuring the hopes dreams and aspirations of 19 Singaporeans, from a World War II veteran to a national athlete.

As part of this year's celebration, the Royal Singapore Air Force will commemorate its 55th anniversary with an enhanced Aerial Display, showcasing some of its latest assets and cutting edge technology.

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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