Singapore National Day Parade

The National Day Parade (NDP) is an annual parade held in Singapore to commemorate its independence. Held annually on 9 August, it is the main public celebration of National Day, and consists of a parade incorporating contingents of the Singapore Armed Forces, Ministry of Home Affairs, local institutions and community groups, followed by a cultural presentation culminating with a fireworks display.

Singapore National Day Parade
A scene of the parade at The Float in 2007.
FrequencyAnnually, 9 August
VenueThe Float at Marina Bay
The Padang
National Stadium
Former National Stadium
Years active56
Inaugurated9 August 1966 (1966-08-09)

Singapore National Day Parade
Chinese name
Malay name
MalayPerbarisan Hari Kebangsaan
Tamil name
Tamilதேசிய தின அணிவகுப்பு

First held on 9 August 1966 to mark the one-year anniversary of Singapore's declaration of independence from Malaysia, it has been held annually since then. The parade had historically been held at the Padang, but were occasionally held at the former National Stadium, and in a "decentralised" format across the country to encourage wider public participation. Beginning in 1984, the Padang began to host the parade on a regular cycle (initially once every three years, and then every five years beginning 1995) and during all years marking anniversaries of national significance, with the event otherwise hosted by the National Stadium.

With the closure of National Stadium in 2007, it would be replaced in the rotation by The Float @ Marina Bay—a temporary, floating venue on Marina Bay designed to host events of national importance while the new National Stadium was under construction. Even with the completion of the new stadium, it would only host the parade once in 2016, after which The Float was designated as the event's "primary" venue, and slated for redevelopment as a permanent venue.


A scene from the National Day Parade, 1968, with a contingent from the People's Association in front.
The flag of Singapore set up alongside pavements across the country
Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command providing security coverage at the Padang during the National Day Parade in 2000.

Singapore celebrated its first National Day as an independent nation in 1966,[1] one year after Singapore's separation from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.

The inaugural National Day Parade was started in the morning at 9:00 a.m. that day. However, people came as early as 7:00 a.m. in order to get good vantage points. Singapore's first President, Yusof bin Ishak and Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, were seated with members of the government at the grandstand on the steps of City Hall. When the parade began, six military contingents (including the Singapore Infantry Regiment, Singapore People's Defense Force, the Volunteer Naval Reserve and PDF-Sea and the then Republic of Singapore Police), a mobile column from the SIR, and various schools and civil contingents marched past City Hall and then into the city streets. Three military bands accompanied the parade inspection and later the march past with military music. The Singapore Fire Brigade also took part in this first parade with its firetrucks included in the mobile column. Rounding it all was a massed lion and dragon dance performance from drum and dragon troupes nationwide.[2]

In 1967, the contingents increased to 76, including those of the then established Singapore Armed Forces, the RSP and more cultural groups, with the addition of more civil marching groups.[3] The reason is partly due to the introduction of the National Service program in the military and police forces, and later extended to the Fire Brigade (Renamed to Singapore Fire Services in the 1980s). Street performances by various groups and choirs also debuted in that year's parade. The 1968 parade, although held on a rainy morning that surprised even the marching contingents and the dignitaries, saw the first ground performances on the Padang as the weather improved - a prelude to today's show performances.[4][5] 1969's parade, the one where the Mobile Column made its first drivepast, commemorated the 150th year of the city's founding and had Princess Alexandra of the UK as principal guest.[6][7][8]

The fifth NDP edition in 1970 introduced the Flypast of the State Flag and the Republic of Singapore Air Force Flypast, as well as the combat simulation performance by Singapore Army personnel was one of the new highlights for that year.[9][10]

The 1971 NDP included iconic mobile parade floats from various organizations, 1973 was the first parade to be held from late-afternoon to early-evening time in order to promote the parade with better attendance and marked the official debut of the 1st Commando Battalion. Parade of 1974 was broadcast for the first time in full colour, after such television broadcasts was introduced for the first time a month prior on 7 July.

In 1975, to commemorate the Decennial anniversary of independence, the Parade was, for the first time, decentralised into 13 parade venues for more public participation. Almost all of the venues lasted for an hour and all of them even had route marches on the streets to the participating venues.

By the time the NDP was held at the National Stadium (for the first time) in 1976, the NDP Guard of Honour, composed of officers and personnel of the SAF and the Singapore Police Force made its first appearance, followed after the parade proper by the very first evening presentations by various groups, a prelude to future evening NDPs in 1980 and from 1984 onward. The 1975 parade dance performers were mostly female students from the country's schools, since that year marked the start of the United Nations Decade for Women. 1977's parade was a decentralised event like two years before (and like 1968's was affected by wet weather) while 1978 returned to Padang. 1979's parade saw another decentralised site, this time being held in many high schools and sports stadiums nationwide. The decentralised format would later be used until 1983, which was the final time NDP was held in multiple venues until 2020.

The 15th installment in 1980 was the first parade to introduce the feu de joie of the Guard-of-Honour contingents. The following year, SPF Civil Defense Command, presently the Singapore Civil Defense Force, later combined with the SFS in 1989, made its inaugural appearance, followed by the SCDF in 1982. The 1981 parade was held in both Jurong and Queenstown Sports Stadiums for further increase public attendance and participation in the celebrations. In 1982, the parade returned at Padang, marking the first time the mobile column drove past after the marchpast had concluded, thus making it a predecessor to the parades at the Padang from 1995 onward, once every five years.

The 1984 installment featured many firsts in commemoration with the Singapore's Silver Jubilee of self-governance, which for the first time, introduced a theme song "Stand Up for Singapore", and included a bigger Mobile Column, the first appearance of the popular Silent Precision Drill Squad from the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command and the first evening fireworks display.

The 1986 edition was the first parade held in the late evening, and the first to use flashlights for audience use. Other introductions were featured over the years such as the first appearance of the massed military bands of the SAF (1987), the card stunt (1988), and the Red Lions parachute team and the daylight fireworks (1989). In 1989, the parade was held in the afternoon but the 1991 edition returned to the evening format used since 1986.

In 1993, interactive participation by the public debuted in that year's edition to increase public participation and awareness of the parade as an important part of Singaporean life and as a symbol of national unity and identity. In 1997, a National Education Show was also introduced where Primary Five students from a selected number of schools attended in one of the rehearsals.

In 2003, due to overcrowding of tickets, the electronic ballot ticketing system was introduced as a countermeasure, and a ballot was conducted where citizens stand a chance at winning the tickets by registering their e-mail addresses or mobile numbers such as the NDP websites or phone lines.

On 16 October 2005, it was announced that due to the planned closure and replacement of the National Stadium as part of the Singapore Sports Hub project, that the 2007 NDP would move to The Float at Marina Bay—a temporary 27,000-seat grandstand and 130 m × 100 m (330 ft) (430 ft × 330 ft) floating platform in Marina Bay. Despite offering a seating capacity almost less than half the capacity of the National Stadium, there was a vast area for approximately 150,000 additional spectators along the Marina Bay waterfront.[11]

The 2006 installment marked the final time the National Stadium in Kallang was held before the stadium went for retrofitting works and thus relocating the parade to the new venue to The Float @ Marina Bay and held its inaugural parade the following year.[12] Starting in 2008, the NDP is also aired all over the Asia-Pacific region through CNA's international feed (with the exception of the 2020 and 2021 editions, which broadcast only the ceremonial portion and was simulcast on CNA's domestic feed, as well), and since 2012, began streaming to other online platforms such as Toggle (later renamed meWATCH), xinmsn (defunct since 2015), and YouTube (along with the parade's official channel, NDPeeps). 2009 featured, for the first time, an integrated show including the parade segment, known as the Pre-parade show (usually not broadcast on television). 2009 was currently the last time to feature multiple theme songs (English and Chinese versions, or originals)

The 2013 installment featured a spin-off reality competition aired on Channel 5, titled Sing a Nation, which featured ten different groups who performed various songs for a chance at a lead performance for the 2013's parade. The 2013's theme song, "One Singapore", was also sung by the cast of Sing a Nation, and the song featured its largest ensemble, with 68 members.[13]

The 2014 installment also featured its first female Red Lion parachutist to jump at the NDP, Third Warrant Officer Shirley Ng, after their initial performance in 2013 was cancelled due to weather conditions.[14][15] The 2014 parade was notable as it was the last parade with the attendance for the first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who was the only member to have attended in every installment of NDP since 1966, as he died on 23 March the following year.

For 2015, portions of the festivities were held at Marina Bay, with screens simulcasting the parade at the Padang (held as part of the traditional five-year cycle, and to mark the 50th anniversary of independence), and the fireworks scheduled to be held at Marina Bay and the Marina Reservoir.[16]

In 2016, the NDP was held for the first time at the new National Stadium, in an event that required modifications to the parade's format due to the limitations of the venue.[17][18][19] After returning to the venue for 2017, in October 2017 it was announced that The Float would remain the "primary" venue of the NDP when not held at the Padang every five years,[20] and would be redeveloped as a permanent venue known as NS Square. The decision raised questions over whether the costs of renting the National Stadium would diminish the legacy that the former National Stadium had as a site for community events. Contrarily, it was argued that not hosting the NDP at the new National Stadium would free up its schedule for major international sporting events, especially during the summer months.[21][22]

The 2019 parade would be held at the Padang to commemorate the bicentennial of the founding of modern Singapore.[23]

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore, the 2020 parade was not held in its traditional form; the event was given the theme "Together, A Stronger Singapore", and a goal was set to bring the NDP "across the island into every Singaporean's home". The public events were replaced by broadcast-only festivities, including a morning segment consisting of the Prime Minister's National Day Message and a downsized parade at the Padang. Appearances by the Mobile Column, Red Lions, and flyovers by F-15SG fighters were scheduled across Singapore, while the traditional Funpacks given at the parade were shipped to each resident. Online programming, home activity ideas, and social media campaigns were also organized. A cultural segment took place at the Star Performing Arts Centre in the evening, reduced to only around 100 performers with social distancing enforced.[24][25]

In July 2021, it was announced that the 2021 parade would return to The Float in a downsized form. The event would be closed to the public and capped at 30% capacity, with tickets provided exclusively to "everyday heroes".[26] All attendees were required to be fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 and test negative.[27] On 22 July 2021, due to the temporary reimplementation of Phase 2 "Heightened Alert" restrictions, it was announced that the parade would be postponed to 21 August 2021. A closed "ceremonial" parade would be held on 9 August at The Float, which was stated to be similar in format to the previous year's parade.[26]

It was announced that the 2022 parade would return to full capacity, with a goal to "involve as many Singaporeans" as possible. Some safety protocols would remain in place, such as a requirement for all attendees over 12 years of age, and all performers, to be fully-vaccinated.[28][29][30] The parade would be the last edition held at The Float before its reconstruction as NS Square (which was expected to begin construction in 2023, and be completed by 2026);[31] the 2023 parade will be held at the Padang, and plans were discussed to possibly hold the parade at National Stadium again in 2024.[32]

NDP editions

A historic venue for the parade has been The Padang, the site where Singapore's independence was declared. In 1976, the parade was held for the first time at the National Stadium, whose larger capacity allowed for more to view the parade live.[11]

Although offering about 60,000 seats in the National Stadium, the demand for tickets remained high, resulting in several attempts to decentralise the event to bring the celebration closer to more Singaporeans. From 1975 to 1983, the NDP alternated between a decentralised event and one centred at the Padang or National Stadium. From 1984, the parade was held at the Padang every three years, with all other editions held at the National Stadium. This three-year cycle continued until 1994, when it switched to a five-year cycle beginning 1995.[11] An exception came in 2019, when the NDP was held at the Padang to mark Singapore's bicentennial.[33]

The Padang, although historically important, posed a greater logistical challenge and also offered fewer seats for spectators. The event and rehearsals also required the closing of surrounding roads. There was a need to construct temporary spectator stands around the field. The site, however, was the only feasible venue for the mobile column, as the heavy vehicles could not be driven onto the stadium track. The Padang was used as the main performance venue for the 2005 parade, with other activities held in Marina South, Jurong East, Yishun and Tampines. Several alternate locations were mooted, including the utilization of the Padang, which is physically bigger and less likely to disrupt daily functions in the city.[11]

YearVenueThemeSlogan/TaglineOrganiserCreative Director Theme Song Ref
1975Decentralised sites    
1976National Stadium  2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade 
1977Decentralised sites    
1979Decentralised sites    
1980National StadiumCourtesy – Our Way of Life   
1981Decentralised sitesEnergy is Precious – Save It   
1982Padang  2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade 
1983Decentralised sites    
1984Padang25 Years of Nation Building, 1959–1984Reach Out Singapore3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade "Stand Up for Singapore"
1985National Stadium  7th Singapore Infantry Brigade "Stand Up for Singapore"
1986 Together...Excellence for Singapore2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade "Count on Me Singapore"
1987Padang A Nation For All: Towards Excellence for Singapore3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade "We are Singapore"
1988National Stadium Excellence Together, Singapore ForeverSingapore Artillery 
1989 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade 
1990PadangOne People, One Nation, One SingaporeNDP 1990: A Nation on ParadeHQ Armour "One People, One Nation, One Singapore"
1991National Stadium My SingaporeHQ Singapore Combat Engineers "It's the Little Things"
1992 Singapore Air Defense Artillery
1993PadangNation on ParadeMy Singapore, My HomeHQ Armour 
1994National Stadium 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade 
1995Padang30 Years of Nationhood / My Singapore, My Home: A Nation in HarmonyHQ Armour
1996National Stadium HQ Singapore Combat Engineers 
1997Catch the Rainbow! NDP 1997 Musical ExtravaganzaNDP 1997: My Singapore, Our FutureSingapore Artillery 
1998 Our Singapore, Our Future7th Singapore Infantry Brigade "Home"
"City for the World"
1999Our PeopleTogether We Make The Difference6th Division "Together"
2000Padang 3rd Division "Shine on Me"
2001National StadiumBuilding Bridges, Forging Futures9th Division/Infantry "Where I Belong"
2002A Caring NationTogether, A New SingaporeHQ ArmourDick Lee 'We Will Get There"
2003A Cohesive SocietyHQ Singapore GuardsGlen Goei "One United People"
2004A Progressive Society6th DivisionGlen Goei "Home"
2005Padang40 Years of Nation BuildingThe Future is Ours to Make3rd DivisionGlen Goei "Reach Out for the Skies"
2006National StadiumOur Global City, Our Home HQ Singapore GuardsGlen Goei "My Island Home"
2007The Float @ Marina BayCity of Possibilities HQ Singapore Combat EngineersGoh Boon Teck "Will You"
2008Celebrating the Singapore Spirit HQ Singapore GuardsGoh Boon Teck "Shine for Singapore"
2009Come Together – Reaching Out • Reaching Up 3rd DivisionIvan Heng "What Do You See"
2010PadangLive Our Dreams, Fly Our Flag HQ ArmourDick Lee "Song for Singapore"
2011The Float @ Marina BayMajulah! The Singapore Spirit HQ Singapore Combat EngineersBeatrice Chia-Richmond "In a Heartbeat"
2012Loving Singapore, Our HomeHQ Singapore GuardsFan Dong Kai "Love at First Light"
2013Many Stories... One Singapore 3rd DivisionSelena Tan "One Singapore"
2014Our People, Our Home  6th DivisionDick Lee
2015PadangMajulah SingapuraOur Golden JubileeHQ Singapore GuardsDick Lee "Our Singapore"
2016New National StadiumBuilding Our Singapore of Tomorrow HQ ArmourBeatrice Chia-Richmond "Tomorrow's Here Today"
2017The Float @ Marina Bay#OneNationTogether  HQ Singapore Combat EngineersGoh Boon Teck "Because It's Singapore!"
2018We Are Singapore  3rd DivisionBoo Jun Feng "We are Singapore"
2019PadangOur SingaporeHQ ArmourDick Lee "Our Singapore"
2020Decentralised sites[lower-alpha 1] Together, A Stronger Singapore 3rd DivisionRoyston Tan "Everything I Am"
2021The Float @ Marina BayTogether, Our Singapore Spirit HQ Singapore GuardsBoo Junfeng"The Road Ahead" [34]
2022Stronger Together, Majulah! 3rd DivisionAdrian Pang"Stronger Together" 
2023Padang     [35]


Since 1998, a unique logo design was selected to represent NDP on all fronts (including social media). Even though there had been logos for some previous years' parades, the logos were used exclusively for years of special commemoration, such as silver jubilee of Nation Building (1984) and Independence (1990). Slogans have also been used, such as "Our Singapore, Our Future", first used in the 1997 celebrations.[36]

With the introduction of NDP logos for 1998, every logo henceforth would be designed to suit the themes, in particular the foundation theme of the parade for the year. A tagline, which was previously known as a slogan, was usually added to the logo design. An example was in 2005, where the tagline for NDP 2005 was "The Future is Ours to Make", was placed on the theme "40 Years of Nation Building". These taglines are usually taken from previous National Day Rallies for the purpose of rallying the nation together on 9 August to meet the challenges ahead. The tagline "Together We Make The Difference" was introduced in 1999 due to the launch of the Singapore 21 project, and was replaced by "Together, A New Singapore" in 2002 when then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong proposed the "Remaking Singapore" initiative in the National Day Rally 2001.[36]

Most of the logos use a majority of red colour, however in 2007, blue has taken over the traditional red to symbolise the water around the Marina Bay area. Regardless, the logos are important to note that the themes and taglines are largely different; and it is the theme that the parade or Show segment, on in some cases (2009 and 2015), both will be based on.

Parade sequence

Although the programme and sequence of the parade do change over the years, several components and the overall flow of the parade have remained intact for the past four decades. With the shifting of venues for some editions of the parade, or in cases such as wet weather, programmes may have to cancel or introduce slight modifications in order to suit the changes, for instance the Mobile Column, which is only possible both at the Padang site and at Marina Bay.[37]


The pre-parade segment today may include mass-displays, choir performances, school band displays, sky-diving displays, and other light-hearted performances to entertain the crowd prior to the parade proper, with the added positive effect of encouraging parade-attendees to be seated earlier. Initially introduced on an ad hoc basis as an informal filler, it has since become an integral part of the parade particularly when live television coverage was extended to this segment in recent years. As audience participation has become a part of the parade, the pre-parade segment also becomes an opportunity for the hosts to lead and rehearse with the audience actions they may have to do when the parade proper begins.

Motivators from TOUCH Community Services were introduced to the pre-parade in 2002 (then called Anchor Talents). TOUCH Community Services has since moved on to mentoring students from the various Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) and various Polytechnics since 2003 until the present, under the Leadership & Mentoring programme. Colourful costumes and dance moves have been designed for the motivators.

Parade and ceremonies

The parade has been a traditional segment of the National Day Parade. Participants of the parade include members of the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force, representatives of the People's Action Party, different labour unions (including members of the National Trades Union Congress) and Ministries as well as students in uniformed groups (such as the National Cadet Corps, National Police Cadet Corps, National Civil Defence Cadet Corps, the Singapore Red Cross, the Boys' and Girls' Brigades, the Scouts Association, the Girl Guides and St. John Ambulance Brigade) and representatives of various Singapore business entities.

Participants are split into two main sections: the Guard-of-Honour contingents and the Supporting Contingents. The four Guard-of-Honour contingents are made up of members from the three arms of the Singapore Armed Forces (the Singapore Army, represented by the Best Combat Unit, for many years the 1st Commando Battalion of the Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation; the Republic of Singapore Navy; and the Republic of Singapore Air Force) as well as the Singapore Police Force. All members of these contingents are dressed in their respective ceremonial uniforms, known as the No. 1 uniform. Behind the Guard-of-Honour contingents stand the Regimental Colours Party, where the 37 SAF regimental colours are held by a group of officers, known as ensigns, from the Singapore Armed Forces, with their armed escorts (until 1997 Service Regimental Colours from the SAF's three services led the colours party). The 3 State Colours are in between the Navy and Air Force Guard-of-Honour contingents, and are formed by Escorts (Specialists/Junior Military Experts) and Ensigns (Junior Officers/Subaltern-ranked Military Experts).

The parade's military bands are from both the SAF and SPF, and in recent years, the marching bands of both services' cadet organizations (the Singapore NCC Command Band and the NPCC Band) have joined them as well, with the Singapore NCC Command Band being part of the combined band since 2010. Before the 1994 creation of the SAF Bands the different service arms of the SAF fielded their own bands, and the massed bands for the parade were, since the early 1970s, from a select band of the SAF and the Singapore Police Force Band (inter-service massed bands would only happen in 1987).

The parade traditionally starts with the Parade Regimental Sergeant Major (Parade RSM) forming up the parade on either the Padang, the field of the National Stadium or in front of the Marina Bay grandstand. The command of the parade is handed over to the Parade Commander once the parade has been formed up and properly dressed accordingly. Typically, both the Parade RSM and the Parade Commander come from the SAF, and usually hold a minimum rank of Master Warrant Officer, and Lieutenant Colonel respectively. Upon sizing and forming up the parade to full formation, the Parade Commander will wait for the arrival of the members of Parliament, members of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister of Singapore, in that order (the salutes were dropped partially in 2008, and the Prime Minister's salute was dropped the next year). Upon the arrival of each group, the parade will present its salute and present arms, except for the Parliament and Cabinet members, upon which they stand at attention and only the PC salutes them.

Lastly once the President of Singapore has arrived (after the playing of the Presidential Fanfare by the Fanfare Trumpeters of the SAF), the Parade Commander will call for a full (Presidential) salute, during which the National Anthem, Majulah Singapura, will be played accompanied by a fly-past of the State Flag, and from 2011, would also require raising it as well on a separate flagpole. After that (and the following aerial salute by the RSAF), the Parade Commander will request that the President inspects the parade. During this inspection, the President will be accompanied by the Chief of Defence Force and the Parade Commander, and the Army GOH Contingent Commander would later join them once they approach the Guard-of-Honour (recent parades have seen a motorized inspection by the President while riding a Land Rover). A presidential 21-gun salute is also given to the President during this time by a select battery from the Singapore Artillery. It is customary that the President speaks to some members of the Guard-of-honor contingents as he/she passes by. After the inspection ends, the President will return to the podium before the Guard-of-honor contingents presents a Feu-de-Joie led by the Parade Commander.

At the end of it (with the GOH contingents now at shoulder arms), the Parade Commander will ask the President for permission for the Parade Marchpast to start. 2012's edition formally included an Advance in Review order to the proceedings for the first time.


The Parade Commander will command the Parade contingents to prepare for the Marchpast, and will then march out of the Parade Grounds, with the massed bands bringing the rear. Since the 1990s, Tentera Singapura is the first march played in this segment. In the National Day Parade 2009, there was a City Marchpast where the contingents marched around the Central Business District, with the march ending at the F1 Pit Building. In the National Day Parade 2010, the City Marchpast made its second appearance and this time the Marina Bay area was the venue for this, with the Marina Padang as the final stop on the march past. 2011 saw the reinstatement of the march through the stands moment of the supporting contingents of the SAF, SPF and SCDF (previously done in the 2002 edition and now called the Onward March), and that year the participants of the youth uniformed groups and the civilian contingents marched out in a different way, only for all of them to reunite for the City Marchpast later on. The 2012 edition of the parade, the very first National Day Parade officiated by the President Tony Tan Keng Yam, had the Onward March which was now done for the second time by all of the youth uniformed groups present while the military and civilian supporting contingents marched out in a different way similar to the march pasts during the 2000 and 2010 editions with all of them rejoining for the City Marchpast to be done later with the GOH contingent battalion to Marina Bay Sands where the march ended. The Onward March made yet another appearance in the 2014 edition alongside the City Marchpast after the parade proper towards the MBS complex. The City Marchpast made its sixth consecutive appearance in the 2015 edition and was carried on in 2016 together with the Onward March from the new National Stadium and again from Marina Bay in 2017 and 2018.

In recent years the order of the march past of the supporting contingents out of the grounds has been altered, with the military and civil uniformed services first to march out, followed by the economic firms, social organizations and the youth uniformed organizations which march last out and then into the platform or parade stands.

Full order of marchpast

Following the parade commander and the second in command, the order of the march past in quick time is as follows, as it would had been during the 70s and early 80s when at the Padang and National Stadium:

  • Colour Party
  • Guards of Honour companies
  • 1st Commando Battalion
  • Officer Cadet School
  • Specialist Cadet School
  • Singapore Army
    • Divisional and brigade companies of Singapore Infantry Regiment
      • 3rd Division
      • 6th Division
      • 9th Division/Infantry
    • Guards
    • Armour
    • Artillery
    • Signals
    • Combat Engineers
    • 2 People's Defence Force
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Military Police Command
  • Medical Corps
  • SAF Volunteer Corps
  • Singapore Police Force
    • Divisional company
    • Home Team Academy police cadets
    • Gurkha Contingent
    • Police Coast Guard
    • SPF Special Operations
    • Volunteer Special Constabulary
  • Singapore Civil Defence Force
    • HTA civil defence cadets
    • Divisional company
  • Immigration and Checkpoints Authority
  • Singapore Customs
  • National Cadet Corps (mixed regiment)
    • Land battalion (one male and one female company each)
    • Naval company
    • Air company
  • National Police Cadet Corps
  • National Civil Defence Corps
  • Scout Association
  • Girl Guides
  • Red Cross Youth
  • St. John's Ambulance Brigade
  • Boys Brigade
  • Girls Brigade
  • SAFRA National Service Association
  • Parade contingents of Singapore higher educational institutions
    • Universities contingents
    • Polytechnics contingents
    • Junior colleges contingents
  • Parade contingents of Singapore secondary schools
  • People's Action Party and PAP Community Foundation
  • National Trades Union Congress
  • Contingents of government ministries
  • Contingents of national statuary boards and state owned corporations
  • Contingents of public and private NGOs
  • Contingents of private local and foreign corporations
  • Singapore National Olympic Council and Sport Singapore (as unified #OneTeamSG contingent since 2010s)

Mobile column, flypast and defence exposition

In the 1966 NDP, a prototype of the mobile column took part with 25-pounder saluting guns, signals equipment and police vehicles. The first true Mobile Column was organized in 1969 which displayed the then newly acquired armour vehicles of the SAF, the RSP's police vehicles and the SCDF's fire trucks. In 1990, after a three-year hiatus since the parade of 1987, the Mobile Column returned as part of the silver jubilee of Singapore's independence with veterans from the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation and retired personnel from the 1967-68 NS intakes first up, transported on trucks. It has been on show during the more important milestone anniversaries of the nation's birthday, on parades held in Padang every five years, including 2019, 2020 and 2023. In 2019 and 2020, the vehicles forming the column drove across various areas of the city-state, letting residents and visitors see the equipment upclose in their communities as the column would drive thru their homes and workplaces.

Almost every NDP since 1971 (except 2016) has had a flypast segment featuring jet and training aircraft, transports and helicopters from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

Whenever the NDP is held at The Float in Marina Bay the Mobile Column and flypast both evolve into the multi-platform and multi-service Dynamic Defence Display (D3), with a display of the military defence and public security capabilities of the uniformed services. In lieu of the 2018 D3, as part of the parade and ceremony segment of the program, a special flypast of the RSAF was held in that year's edition to mark its golden jubilee.

The 1980 parade marchpast segment in the Former National Stadium ended with a small civilian mobile column featuring classic cars, bicycles and motorcycles seen on Singapore's roads in the past.


Fireworks during parade day in 2011

The spectacular show segment follows the traditional parade and ceremony, and lasts normally for 45 minutes. Following the theme of the parade that year, the Show will feature (aside from a Prologue in recent editions) three to four (sometimes up to six) main Acts that culminates in a Grand Finale, that will usually feature the theme song of that year's parade, followed by the much anticipated fireworks display. The entire parade will end in a chorus of voices singing familiar National Day Songs, mass pledge taking (from 2009 expanded into a national activity) and the singing of the National Anthem. In 2007, the parade broke tradition for having a fireworks display that synchronized with the Sing Singapore medley in the finale. In 2009, for the first time ever, all the segments of the NDP have been merged into one integrated program; this would later be repeated in 2015.

It has its origins in early NDPs as various mass display items put up by community groups or schools to add colour to the otherwise military parade. These items revolved around the themes of racial harmony, ruggedness among youths etc., which are represented by ethnic dances and mass gymnastics displays. This section evolved over the years to become more theatrical, from the massive card stunt displays that complemented the parade in the 1980s to multimedia projections in recent Shows, as well as the theatrical show segments of the 1996, 1997 and 2011 editions, which featured local artists. In recent parades, the performances have been interspected with short movies produced for the parade by local film makers.

Float displays also featured prominently in the Show segments of the 1970s and 1980s where floats were designed to promote government campaigns or highlight the works of various public and private companies. This returned in the editions of 1991 and 1998 and in NDP 2005 as a visual representation of Singapore's past 40 years of nation building, with further reappearances at NDP 2009 and at NDP 2010 to symbolize the mixture of peoples that make up Singapore today. Floats would return in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 editions. Boats and floats on the Marina Bay area in view of the crowds were one of the highlights of the 1993 and 2018 show segments.

Parades today, held from dusk to night, end in the climax of fireworks displays which have become a prominent feature in every parade, which followed by a medley of songs and then reciting the pledge and singing "Majulah Singapura". However, in the early parades that were held in the day (from 1965–72) and later afternoon to evening NDP editions from 1973 to 1980, 1982 and 1984, mass lion and dragon dance displays are actually the parade finale. Lion and dragon dance troupes from various community centres and clan associations would gather on the field to the resonating sound of drumbeats to put on a fiery display that end the parade on an auspicious note. These troupes later became integral parts of the 1985, 1990 and 1993 NDPs.

Participating organizations

Though every show would see the participation of an assortment of public and private companies, there are three main anchors taking on each Act in the show segment. They are the Peoples' Association and the PA Youth Movement (which involvement started in 1984, and one of the founding participants), the Singapore Soka Association (SSA) (active since the 1970s) and the Ministry of Education, which would be represented by an individual institution or a cluster of schools, and also a founding participant of the parades. The latter also provides the Combined Schools Band and the Combined School Choirs, another regular part of the NDP itself, and since the 1980s has been part of the national celebrations. The Ministry also provides the School Display Band for the pre-parade segment of the programme, coming from one of the many schools in the island country pre-selected for performance in the event. Occasionally the SDB is made up of select bands from Singapore high schools. Since 2016, volunteers from Team Nila are also involved as Precinct Ushers, Safety Management Aides and, most recently, as pre-show Active Health Ambassadors.

Multimedia show

Various types of high-tech multimedia equipment are used during the actual show segment since 2003. Various technologies notable include the Projecteur d’Images Géantes Informatisées in 2003, a water-curtain visualization in 2007, and LED Mash in 2008.


Post-parade parties was first televised in 1997 and featured celebrities and performers to celebrate the success of the parade while providing entertainment to the audience awaiting to leave the venue. The parade usually last for an hour and ends with the Chief of Defence Force, the Chairman of that year's NDP EXCO and the organisers to cutting a cake to commemorate the efforts with the participants with speeches of gratitude. The party is now normally anchored by the SAF Music and Drama Company.


National Day songs

Under the Sing Singapore Festival, which inaugurated in 1984, numerous community songs have been composed. Nonetheless, only few National Day songs which struck a chord among Singaporeans continue to be sung annually in the parade. They are collectively known as the Sing Singapore Medley which comes after the fireworks display during the Grand Finale segment, or since 2008, forming the final part of the display.

Other National Day songs continue to be featured during the parade, either in the Pre-Parade segment, Parade and Ceremony segment or used as tunes to accompany the mass displays during the show part of the celebrations. In particular, for the Parade and Ceremony segment, in between the arrivals of Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister and the President, four songs each of one official language (English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil) will be performed. In previous years, the final song in English (before the President's arrival) has always been the NDP theme song (in 2007 this was not the case) while in NDP 2008, all the songs performed in the P&C segment (in between arrivals) were all previous NDP theme songs in recent years. (The song tradition would return in 2017, but only in the pre-parade portion and in a different language order, while past theme songs were played during the arrivals.) The music performed during the parades have evolved over the decades, reflecting not just the change of musical influences and styles, but also the country's multi-ethnic character.

The 2010 P&C songs were three in number, due to the fact that the arrival of the Parliament deputies happened before the parade, and were unique because all the songs sung were in English (one song even had lyrics in the three other major languages).

In 2011, there was the "Fun Pack Song" which went along to the tune of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'. The song was shortly scrapped.

The 2013's medley saw a record number of NDP songs that featured in this medley, with ten and lasted about five-and-a-half minutes: "Stand Up For Singapore", "We Will Get There", "What Do You See", "One United People", "Turn Up The Love" (not including NDP songs), "Home", "One People, One Nation, One Singapore", "Count On Me Singapore", "We Are Singapore" and "One Singapore" (that year's theme song).

In 2014, it was announced that there would be no new songs produced for National Day for the 2nd time in its long history, and in a historic move by the organizing committee, the classic NDP songs will be sung again. That year's edition saw past NDP theme songs being played during the arrival segments, and broke tradition by having the Sing Singapore Medley sung as the epilogue after the national anthem was played. The Sing Singapore Medley finale was repeated again in the 2015 event, after the Pledge Moment ends. Both cases have now included the 1998 theme song "Home" as part of the medley, just as it was the case in 2013.

2016 will see the medley also accompanied by special needs students provided by the seven Voluntary Welfare Organisations of the island country hand-signing for the deaf and hard of hearing who will take part, yet another first. The 1998 theme "Home" was sung as well. (Since 1989, a deaf Representative has been present to sign the Pledge for deaf viewers of the event.)

Theme songs

NDP Theme songs were first introduced in 1984, starting with "Stand Up for Singapore", and again in the 1985 Parade; "Count on Me Singapore" which was performed by Clement Chow at the 1986 Parade. Other notable songs include "We are Singapore" (1987–1988) and "One People, One Nation, One Singapore" (1990).

Theme songs were not prominent in the parades of the 1990s until 1998 when "Home", a song composed by Dick Lee and sung by Kit Chan. That year's parade feature "Home" and one more NDP song, "City For The World", sung by the children choir. Its popularity led to the production of the various renditions in 2004, including a rock piece composed by JJ Lin. This is partly to use the platform of the televised national event to increase awareness to new National Day pieces composed for the Sing Singapore Festival held then.

In 2003, however, a significant split took place when the National Day theme song of that year was not part of Sing Singapore theme song. Stefanie Sun's "One United People" was used as the theme song to better suit the theme of "A Cohesive Society" while Sean Wang's "A Place In My Heart" was chosen to lead the Sing Singapore 2003 Festival.

Before 2007, the theme songs come in two languages, the lingua franca in Singapore – English as well as Mandarin. To promote the songs, music videos that showcase local landmarks and lifestyle are made and shown on national television a month before National Day; the songs will also be played on local airwaves. Legal MP3 downloads are also available on the NDP website from 2010 onwards.

Local songbirds that made it big in regional music scenes, such as Kaira Gong, Kit Chan, Corrine May, Stefanie Sun and Tanya Chua have been invited back home to perform various National Day theme songs. The winner of Singapore Idol 2004, Taufik Batisah, became a prominent choice to lead the nation in singing the NDP 2005's theme song "Reach Out for the Skies", alongside singer-actress Rui En.

In 2007, there were two theme songs instead of the usual one. 2009 was the last time a Chinese rendition of the English song was featured.

In 2013, the National Day Parade theme song will not be sung by renowned local artists but, for the first time, by fellow Singaporeans that join the "Sing A Nation" reality-competition organized by MediaCorp for that year's event.[38][39]

It would be in 2014 when the NDP will not have another official theme song in a break from tradition for the second time, due to decision made by the organizers. In place of the theme song was three songs were remade into two music videos: "We Will Get There" and "One People, One Nation, One Singapore" sung by Ann Hussein, Rahimah Rahim, Gayle Nerva, Farisha Ishak, Tay Kewei and Tabitha Nauser; and "What Do You See" sung by Fauzie Laily, Jack Ho, Kartik Kunasegaran, Sivadorai "Rai" Sellakannu and Shaun Jansen. Dick Lee's 1996 song, "Big Island", debuted during the show segment of the parade. The theme song tradition would return in the 2015 installment again until 2018. The 2015 theme song, "Our Singapore", was remade as the theme song for 2019, and the 2018's parade features a remake of "We Are Singapore", both of which being the theme titles for that year's parade. The theme song tradition returned once more in 2020, with "Everything I Am" sung by Nathan Hartono. The most recent installment to feature an original theme song was 2022's "Stronger Together", sung by Taufik Batisah.

The list of NDP theme songs are as follows:

Table Key
  •   Chinese version   Remake of original music   Recognised as a patriotic song
Year Song Artistes
19841 Stand Up for Singapore
1986 Count on Me Singapore Clement Chow
1987 We are Singapore Jonathan Tan, Roslinda Baharudin, Anne Weerapass and Robert Fernando
1990 One People, One Nation, One Singapore Clement Chow, Faridah Ali, Jacintha Abisheganaden, Stephen Francis
1991 It's the Little Things Mel Ferdinands, Mahani Mohd
1998 Home Kit Chan
City for the World
1999 Together Evelyn Tan & Dreamz FM
心连心 (Xīn lián xīn)
2000 Shine on Me Jai Wahab
星月 (Xīng yuè) Mavis Hee
2001 Where I Belong Tanya Chua
属于 (Shǔ yú)
2002 We Will Get There Stefanie Sun
一起走到 (Yīqǐ zǒu dào)
2003 One United People
全心全意 (Quán xīn quán yì)
2004 Home Kit Chan and JJ Lin2
2005 Reach Out for the Skies Taufik Batisah and Rui En
勇敢向前飞 (Yǒnggǎn xiàng qián fēi) Rui En
2006 My Island Home Kaira Gong
(Xìngfú de túxíng)
2007 There's No Place I'd Rather Be Kit Chan
Will You Janani Sridhar, Asha Edmund, Emma Yong, Lily Anna Rahmat, Jai Wahab, Shabir Mohammed, Sebastian Tan, Gani Karim
2008 Shine for Singapore Hady Mirza
晴空万里 (Qíng kōng wàn lǐ) Joi Chua
2009 What Do You See? Electrico
就在这里 (Jiù zài zhèlǐ) Kelvin Tan
2010 Song for Singapore Corrinne May
2011 In a Heartbeat Sylvia Ratonel
2012 Love At First Light Olivia Ong and Natanya Tan
2013 One Singapore 68-member choir "Sing A Nation"
2015 Our Singapore JJ Lin and Dick Lee
2016 Tomorrow's Here Today 53A
2017 Because it's Singapore Jay Lim
2018 We Are Singapore Charlie Lim, Vanessa Fernandez, Aisyah Aziz, Shak'thiya Subramaniamm, Kevin Lester (The Lion City Boy), Joanna Dong and ITE Show Choir
2019 Our Singapore Rahimah Rahim, Jacintha Abisheganaden, Stefanie Sun, JJ Lin, Dick Lee and Kit Chan
2020 Everything I Am Nathan Hartono
2021 The Road Ahead Linying, Sezairi Sezali, Shye-Anne Brown, and Shabir Tabare Alam[34]
2022 Stronger Together Taufik Batisah
  1. ^ Also used in the 1985 parade.
  2. ^ The MTV versions were choral renditions performed by Young Voices, which comprises the choirs from the Tanjong Katong Girls' School and Tampines Primary School.

NDP funpack

Funpacks was introduced in 1991, which contains goodies which distribution varies every year. These goodies include food, drinks, vouchers from various participating companies and sponsors, items and commodities intended for the use during the parade, such as a theme-designed torchlight and the Singapore flag. Most funpacks are designed by students from local polytechnics and community services, although an exception happened 2015, where people from all walks of life designed 50 designs for the funpack, which also include a Singa Lion Figurine, some snacks and games.[40]

Most of the years, the funpacks were also packed by selected members of the armed forces. In 2009, they were packed by prisoners through the Yellow Ribbon Project. In 2015, a similar funpack, the 'SG Funpack', which came in 50 designs, was given out to every Singaporean and permanent resident household.[41][16]

In 2019, the funpacks were redesigned to be more environmentally-friendly.[42]

See also

  • Singapore National Day Rally


  1. While the scaled-down morning parade at Padang, the evening culture segment held at The Star Performing Arts Centre.


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