The sights and sounds of this year’s National Day celebrations
Apart from the Float, Singaporeans also gathered outside the National Museum and at various locations in the heartlands to celebrate the nation’s 57th year of independence.
The streets of Singapore were awash in red and white hues on Tuesday (Aug 9) as the National Day celebrations went into full swing.
Apart from the 25,000 spectators at the Float, thousands of people also gathered at areas around the Float such as the Esplanade bridge and the Merlion to catch a view of the parade.
Celebrations for the nation’s 57th year of independence also extended to the heartlands and the National Museum of Singapore, where various activities and firework displays were available to the public.
From the lively gatherings of friends and family, to the dazzling fireworks to end off the night, here are some noteworthy highlights of this year’s National Day celebrations.
Gathering to watch the parade around the island
The National Day celebrations were in full swing on Aug 9, as families gathered all over Singapore to commemorate the special day.
However, some went above and beyond, including 22-year-old Kah Jun who shared in a viral TikTok that he woke up exceptionally early to head to the Marina Barrage and had a picnic with his friends while waiting for the fireworks.
He shared with Youthopia: “We thought it was going to be super crowded so we woke up at like 6am and then we came from NTU all the way here. We overestimated the kiasu-ness of Singaporeans.
“We’re all sunburned… but it’s fun because we’re all suffering together.”
There was also a live screening of the parade over at the National Museum of Singapore, which saw over a hundred people gathered with picnic mats and foldable stools.
Among the people gathered were 30-year-old Kenneth Chan and 26-year-old Ynez Lim. For them, being able to celebrate National Day again was a refreshing experience as they had spent the past two years “cooped up at home”.
The couple, who were unable to get tickets to the actual parade, shared that it was still exciting to experience the “National Day atmosphere” and feel the “community spirit” as they watched the parade at the museum.
Ynez added: “It’s nice that there are so many alternative spaces for us to celebrate National day, and we thought that this is a fantastic place because of the nice city view.”
The last National Day celebration at the Float
Given that this is the final National Day Parade (NDP) that will take place at the Float, this year’s parade and performance was one that held a special significance for performers and spectators alike.
Munawwar Rifa’e, a performer for the NDP, shared that being able to participate in the NDP was an experience that he would always “keep in his heart”.
Apart from it being a unique opportunity to perform in front of thousands, the 20-year-old also felt that it was a “once in a lifetime” experience.
He said: “NDP will definitely be different in the future because this place has held many fun and happy memories for many Singaporeans.”
Being at the Float to watch the parade again after a decade made for a very “memorable experience” for 20-year-old Levina Keak.
While it was different from her usual National Day routine to have a family gathering at home, being present at the Float was exciting as she got the chance to watch her friends involved in the parade.
“I’m looking forward to the marching contingent because my friends are actually marching. They are in the Commandos so shout out to them, all the best!”
Levina added that she felt both “sad and happy”, given that the upcoming National Day celebrations will take place at a different location.
“I’m definitely excited to look forward to the new ground and will miss the time here at the Float!” she said.
A yearly tradition to celebrate
For some Singaporeans, National Day also serves as a way to gather with friends and family.
Kevin Tan, 27, shared that it is a yearly tradition for him and his friends to gather together to watch the fireworks at Ang Mo Kio.
He said: “We live in Bishan, and Ang Mo Kio is the nearest heartland to catch the fireworks…we have been coming here for the past 10 years, so it is an annual friendship tradition we have going on.”
Similarly, Ady Dani, 15, was at the Bedok Stadium catching the National Day fireworks with his family, a tradition they have kept ever since his birth.
He said: “When my mum was pregnant with me, she came to watch the fireworks. So now it has become our yearly tradition to head out and watch the fireworks.
“It also serves as a form of confidence that Singapore is still here and that we get to celebrate its independence year after year.”
A joyful occasion with loved ones
To some Singaporeans, National Day serves not just as an occasion to celebrate the nation’s independence but also one to celebrate the solidarity of the people in Singapore.
One such individual is 20-year-old Elizabeth Lee, who went to watch the fireworks at Ang Mo Kio with her parents. For her, National Day was a “great time to bond as a family.”
While they usually went to the Esplanade to catch the National Day fireworks prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her family decided to head down to Ang Mo Kio this year as they live around the area.
She said: “We have been very busy lately with our schedules, so this is a perfect opportunity for us to interact and spend time together. “
This year’s celebrations also marked a special occasion for couple Liu Jiangshan, 29 and Lee Wen Suan, 30, who celebrated their first National Day as Singaporeans.
The pair, who stayed at Hougang, decided to head to Ang Mo Kio to catch the fireworks as it was the “nearest heartland” to them.
Wen Suen said: “We took a taxi down at 5pm because we were really excited and wanted to secure a good spot to catch the fireworks.”
Friends Janessa Chua, 16, and Lee Wen Suen, 16, were also at Ang Mo Kio to catch the heartland fireworks. While their usual tradition was to watch the parade at home with their respective families, the pair decided to celebrate together this year.
Janessa said: “It was a memorable experience for sure and next year we want to invite our families as well to enjoy the fireworks together!”
Additional reporting by Ernest Cheng, Harshiyne Maran, Aung Nyi Htet and Reshma Subramaniam.