Singaporeans are all about public holidays because we want to maximise our annual leave to get the most out of our trips.
Whenever they announce next year’s public holidays, I’m already looking at the calendar and mentally planning my annual leave, thinking how many days off I can take to maximise my trip. However, with the global pandemic and no vaccine for now, we don’t know when travel will get back to the way it was.
We get four long weekends next year, which is quite a far cry compared to this year, with seven long weekends. And since it’s not fully safe to travel and Covid-19 is here to stay, maybe that’s not tooo bad?
But who knows what will happen next year? Public holidays still afford us time off from work (and an excuse to not answer work emails and calls). With some creative planning of leave, we can carve out some more long weekends.
Let’s dive into the complete list of Singapore public holidays in 2021, and how to maximise them.
Singapore public holidays 2021 — 4 long weekends
|Public holiday 2021||Date||Day|
|New Year’s Day||1 Jan 2021||Friday|
|Chinese New Year||12 Feb 2021
13 Feb 2021
|Good Friday||2 April 2021||Friday|
|Labour Day||1 May 2021||Saturday|
|Hari Raya Puasa*||13 May 2021||Thursday|
|Vesak Day||26 May 2021||Wednesday|
|Hari Raya Haji*||20 July 2021||Tuesday|
|National Day||9 Aug 2021||Monday|
|Deepavali||4 Nov 2021||Thursday|
|Christmas Day||25 Dec 2021||Saturday|
Note that the dates for Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji are subject to change.
Note that 3 of the 10 PHs fall on Saturdays but your employer should give you a day off-in-lieu for these and depending on your company, you can make use of the off-in-lieu immediately after that public holiday or save it for later.
How to make full use of the public holidays in 2021
So apart from the four long weekends, there are also 4 holidays where you can take 1 more day of leave to get a longer weekend.
|Public holiday||Holiday period||Annual leave needed|
|Chinese New Year||Fri, 12 Feb – Mon, 15 Feb 2021 (4 days)||1 off-in-lieu (Mon, 15 Feb)|
|Hari Raya Puasa*||Thu, 13 May – Sun, 16 May 2021 (4 days)||1 day (Fri, 14 May)|
|Hari Raya Haji*||Sat, 17 July – Tue, 20 July 2021 (4 days)||1 day (Mon, 19 July)|
|Deepavali||Thu, 4 Nov – Sun, 7 Nov 2021 (4 days)||1 day (Fri, 5 Nov)|
|TOTAL||16 days||4 days|
With some creative planning and saving up of this year’s leave, since we can’t travel much yet this year, you may be able to take longer holidays next year. Hopefully your employer allows you to carry over your leave. That’s an extension of the Chinese New Year weekend and 3 more long weekends if you take four days of leave, which is very little compared to this year’s, but we just have to make do with what we get.
So let’s break it down further month by month and see what we can get.
Public holidays Dec 2020: Christmas + New Year’s Day (10 days with annual leave)
Ok so this is not technically 2021 but you can get quite a good long break here.
Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are exactly a week apart and since Christmas 2020 falls on a Friday, so does New Year’s 2021.
|25 Dec (PH)||26 Dec||27 Dec||28 Dec||29 Dec||30 Dec||31 Dec|
|1 Jan (PH)||2 Jan||3 Jan|
Christmas already gives you a long weekend and if you take 4 days of leave from 28 – 31 Dec (Mon – Thu), you can get a total of 10 days of leave! If your company usually closes between Christmas and New Year, even better!
This is great for a week relaxing somewhere on a beach in Bali or if you want to avoid the heaps of tourists escaping from winter, try a less touristy place such as Phu Quoc in Vietnam.
This gives you 8 uninterrupted days of leave, which is enough for a nice long holiday overseas.
Of course, travelling during this period is not cheap but if you’ve saved up this year from all the travel that we can’t do — and if it’s safe enough — the year end would make for a good holiday break.
Public holidays Feb 2021: Chinese New Year (10 days with annual leave)
Next year’s Chinese New Year (CNY) falls on the second week of February instead of in January, and this gives us a bit of a break after working for one month straight.
This time, the second day of CNY is on Saturday, 13 Feb, which means you get a day off-in-lieu, as per MOM requirement.
|6 Feb||7 Feb|
|8 Feb||9 Feb||10 Feb||11 Feb||12 Feb (PH)||13 Feb (PH)||14 Feb|
If you want to take a long holiday this Chinese New Year, you can use your off-in-lieu on the following Monday, 15 Feb, to get a four-day long weekend.
And, if you plan to travel to visit relatives or just for holiday, you can take the week leading up to CNY and your off-in-lieu on the Monday for a rest, as follows:
- Mon 8 Feb
- Tue 9 Feb
- Wed 10 Feb
- Thu 11 Feb
- Mon 15 Feb (off-in-lieu)
Including the previous weekend of 6 – 7 Feb, that’s 10 days off work with 4 days of annual leave. If you want to escape nosy relatives, this is the perfect time to go for a ski trip in Japan!
Public holidays Apr 2021: Good Friday (long weekend)
Good Friday 2021 comes a week earlier than it usually does, which means no more holidays for the rest of April until May.
Good for a long weekend break to spend time with friends and family.
|29 Mar||30 Mar||31 Mar||1 Apr||2 Apr (PH)||3 Apr||4 Apr|
Public holidays May 2021: Labour Day + Hari Raya Puasa (16 days with annual leave)
After Chinese New Year, the next “public holiday season” falls in May, and this time there’s not two but THREE holidays, thanks to Labour Day (1 May), Hari Raya Puasa (13 May) and Vesak Day (26 May).
But they just have to be evenly spaced out at 13 days apart, which means you need to spend quite a bit of leave if you’re planning a trip.
|1 May (PH)||2 May|
|3 May||4 May||5 May||6 May||7 May||8 May||9 May|
|10 May||11 May||12 May||13 May (PH)||14 May||15 May||16 May|
If you want to take a long break, take it in the first half of the month as you get more days off with the weekends. Note that this works on the assumption that the date for Hari Raya Puasa does not change.
To get a massive 16 days’ break, you can take 8 days of annual leave and use the off-in-lieu from Labour Day on:
- Mon 3 May (off-in-lieu)
- Tue 4 May
- Wed 5 May
- Thu 6 May
- Fri 7 May
- Mon 10 May
- Tue 11 May
- Wed 12 May
- Fri 14 May
May is a great month to travel further afield to Europe where it’s still in the shoulder season and not peak summer season so it won’t be crazy crowded with tourists and inflated prices.
Otherwise, you can just take 1 day off on Fri 14 May — or make use of your off-in-lieu from Labour Day — for a 4 day long weekend.
Public holidays May 2021: Vesak Day (9 days with annual leave)
At the end of the month, there’s always Vesak Day. This time, it falls right smack in the middle of the week, which means a whole week off or a 5-day long weekend before or after the holiday.
|22 May||23 May|
|24 May||25 May||26 May (PH)||27 May||28 May||29 May||30 May|
If you want to maximise your entire week to get 9 days off, take four days of leave on:
- Mon 24 May
- Tue 25 May
- Thu 27 May
- Fri 28 May
Otherwise, just two days of leave before or after Wed 26 May will get you 5 days off.
Public holidays July 2021: Hari Raya Haji (long weekend with annual leave)
After Hari Raya Puasa, there’s sadly going to be a dry spell in June all the way until the fourth week of July with Hari Raya Haji. Note that the date is also subject to change.
|12 July||13 July||14 July||15 July||16 July||17 July||18 July|
|19 July||20 July (PH)||21 July||22 July||23 July||24 July||25 July|
Taking off on Monday 19 July is the most straightforward way to get a long weekend, which means more time visiting relatives and friends for those celebrating.
Public holidays Aug 2021: National Day (long weekend)
Usually August has two holidays with National Day and Hari Raya Haji, but as Hari Raya Haji falls pretty early in July next year, we only have National Day, but at least it’s a long weekend!
|2 Aug||3 Aug||4 Aug||5 Aug||6 Aug||7 Aug||8 Aug|
|9 Aug (PH)||10 Aug||11 Aug||12 Aug||13 Aug||14 Aug||15 Aug|
Writing this now makes me think of all the hoo ha about whether we should have the National Day funpack this year or not. If you ask me, we don’t need material things to feel a sense of national pride and I’m all for saving the monetary and environmental costs of producing the funpacks and donating the money to those in need. Wonder what will happen next year…
Public holidays Nov 2021: Deepavali (9 days with annual leave)
After August 2021, there are no more public holidays until November when Deepavali comes around on a Thursday.
|30 Oct||31 Oct|
|1 Nov||2 Nov||3 Nov||4 Nov (PH)||5 Nov||6 Nov||7 Nov|
To maximise this public holiday, you can get 9 days off if you take 4 days leave on:
- Mon 1 Nov
- Tue 2 Nov
- Wed 3 Nov
- Fri 5 Nov
That’s slightly more than a week if you want to escape to somewhere in Asia such as Korea and Japan for an autumn experience.
Otherwise, you can just take Fri 5 Nov off for a 4-day long weekend.
Public holidays Dec 2021: Christmas + New Year’s Day (10 days with annual leave)
Back to the most wonderful time of the year with Christmas again.
|20 Dec||21 Dec||22 Dec||23 Dec||24 Dec||25 Dec (PH)||26 Dec|
|27 Dec||28 Dec||29 Dec||30 Dec||31 Dec||1 Jan (PH)||2 Jan|
This is quite crappy because both Christmas and New Years 2022 fall on Saturday and even though you are supposed to get off-in-lieu, we know that sometimes it’s harder to claim the off-in-lieus due to company policy or bosses’ preferences.
Nevertheless, if you are planning on a break, you can take off on the last week of December and off-in-lieu on:
- Mon 27 Dec (Christmas off-in-lieu)
- Tue 28 Dec
- Wed 29 Dec
- Thu 30 Dec
- Fri 31 Dec
- Mon 3 Jan (New Year’s Day off-in-lieu)
If you are planning to travel, don’t forget to get insurance and check for any promotions to get the best coverage.
Or if it’s still not safe enough to travel or simply just not worth it if you have to quarantine yourself for 14 days in your destination, take some time out to do some courses or escape to Singapore’s nearby islands or neighbouring countries .
What are you most looking forward to in 2021? Tell us in the comments!