Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Racial Harmony Day – July 21, 2023

Racial Harmony Day is observed on July 21 each year. Singapore’s identity as a cosmopolitan nation has evolved‌. There are notable occasions, such as Racial Harmony Day, that remind Singaporeans to be proud of their heritage. Singaporeans observe this day by emphasizing the importance of encouraging harmony and understanding among all populations in our country, as well as celebrating our unique, cross-cultural nature.

Racial Harmony Day aims to serve as a reminder for Singaporeans to be empathetic toward people of all races and faiths. Community Development Councils and People’s Organizations were formed to strengthen ties between people in various communities. Since its inception, Racial Harmony Day has undergone several expansions in order to broaden its appeal.

History of Racial Harmony Day

Racial Harmony Day is more than just another school event; it is a reminder that Singapore’s diversity is a source of strength, and that harmony must be established and maintained. The first of two racial riots in six weeks occurred in Singapore on July 21, 1964, resulting in 36 deaths and over 500 injuries. Many racist events that have recently gone viral have elicited strong emotions and soul-searching about the prejudice that various communities in Singapore face.

While the ensuing public debate was unsettling at times, it was useful in addressing the concerns and reminding Singaporeans of the importance of racial harmony in the country. The historical occurrence serves as a reminder to Singaporeans of the importance of maintaining racial understanding and tolerance among Singapore’s many ethnicities. In 1998, the Ministry of Education declared July 21 as Racial Harmony Day, with schools hosting programs to teach children about race and concepts such as accepting diversity.

The goal was to ensure that Racial Harmony Day would not become just another event on the school calendar to be observed every year with little significance. The commitment reminds us to put aside our differences and embrace our Singaporean identities to work together for a prosperous Singapore. The significance and uniqueness of racial harmony day are discussed with the children to summarize Singapore’s history. This starts the day with basic information to keep children informed about the day’s main goal, which is to celebrate the unity of people of diverse races and beliefs.

Racial Harmony Day timeline

1964
The Riot Between Malays And Chinese

Many racist incidents go viral and elicit strong feelings and soul-searching about the racism that diverse Singaporean groups confront.

1997
The First Celebration Of Racial Harmony Day

Racial Harmony Day is an initiative of the Ministry of Education (M.O.E.) for schools.

2001
The Orange Ribbon

The orange ribbon, which represents racial peace and intolerance against racism, is first worn at a school by the National Museum of Singapore.

2003
Declaration Of Religious Harmony

The draft code of the Declaration on Religious Harmony is prepared on October 22 in response to the threat posed to religious harmony in Singapore by the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah.

Racial Harmony Day FAQs

What will be the theme of Racial Harmony Day 2022?

The theme of 2022’s Racial Harmony Day is “Our Cultural Heritage.” When we take pride in one another’s cultural heritage, we strengthen our shared identity. This contributes to a more resilient community.

What does it mean to live in racial harmony?

Racial Harmony serves as a liaison or neutral party to help all members of our community understand, cooperate, and communicate with people of all races and ethnic groups.

Is Racial Harmony Day observed only in Singapore?

Racial Harmony Day is a national holiday in Singapore that honors the country’s accomplishment as a racially peaceful society.

How to Observe Racial Harmony Day

  1. Dress up with traditional outfits

    On this special day, students can dress up in various ethnic costumes to show their appreciation for one another's cultures. Cheongsam and Changshan are traditional Chinese garments, while Malays wear Baju Kurung and Baju Melayu, and Indian men and women wear Sarees and Dhotis.

  2. Learn about cultures through games

    Students can also play enjoyable games to learn about other cultures in a fun way. Traditional games include five stones, hopscotch, Chapteh, bola tins, and drawing kolams.

  3. Share it on social media

    To share your story about Racial Harmony Day on social media, use the hashtag #RacialHarmonyDay. Make the world aware of the importance of maintaining racial and religious harmony.

5 Interesting Facts About Singapore

  1. Orange ribbon

    The orange ribbon, which represents racial peace and intolerance of racism, was first presented at a school in 2001 by the National Museum of Singapore.

  2. The world’s first night zoo

    Singapore's Night Safari, the world's first night zoo, offers a unique nighttime experience in the city.

  3. Man-made waterfalls

    According to the Mandai Wildlife Reserve, the first man-made waterfall was built at Jurong Bird Park.

  4. The locals' language

    Singlish, a colorful native slang, is an important component of Singaporean everyday dialogue.

  5. The F1 night race

    The highlight of the weekend was the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, which was also the world's first Formula one-night race.

Why Racial Harmony Day is Important

  1. It’s vital as we live in a multi-cultural society

    It is critical to acknowledge that we live in a multi-cultural society where we are constantly exposed to people of different races and religions. We must be aware of people's cultural ideas and behaviors.

  2. It can strengthen friendships

    The holiday encourages us to form stronger bonds with the people close to us. In the long run, we can form friendships, paving the way for a more peaceful and united Singapore.

  3. Helps us grow together to build the nation

    It serves as a timely reminder that, as a tiny nation, we must all work together to ensure that Singapore continues to prosper and that everyone has an opportunity to participate.

Racial Harmony Day dates

YearDateDay
2023July 21Friday
2024July 21Sunday
2025July 21Monday
2026July 21Tuesday
2027July 21Wednesday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.