Racial Harmony Day
Observed annually on July 21st in Singapore, Racial Harmony Day celebrates the success Singapore has achieved in becoming a nation that is racially harmonious. It is a holiday that has been observed since the 1990s and a day on which most activities are organized by grassroots organizations, religious groups, and schools.
On this day, many schools are encouraged to recite the Declaration of Religious Harmony—a document that affirms every Singaporean’s commitment to racial harmony and the importance of such a commitment.
The History of Racial Harmony Day in Singapore
This holiday was first created by the Ministry of Education in 1997 and was originally observed in schools. It commemorates the 1964 race riots that took place on July 21st while Singapore was still a part of Malaysia. During these riots, 22 people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured. Singapore would experience many other riots up until its independence in 1965.
Observing Racial Harmony Day in Singapore
This holiday is observed as a community effort designed to strengthen the ties between different ethnic communities in Singapore. There are also events all across Singapore that are planned by grassroots organizations and religious groups.
On this holiday, there are also a variety of Harmony Games that are played. These games include Kho Kho, a team-building game during which people attempt to catch opposing team members as they run. Another fun activity is Ketupat Weaving, a type of weaving that is first done with paper and then with rice paper. Other games include hopscotch, Capteh, and Five Stones.
Although there are many activities planned on this day, this holiday is not a public holiday in Singapore. Schools remain open, as do government offices and businesses. As such, it is not a day off for the general public, and not everyone may be able to celebrate it.