Istana's changing of guards ceremony resumes on Oct 2 after 2-year hiatus

The changing of guards ceremony on Oct 2 will take place at 6pm at the Istana main gate. PHOTO: HALIMAH YACOB/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - After a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Istana will resume its changing of guards ceremony on Sunday.

The ceremony on Oct 2 will take place at 6pm at the Istana main gate, said President Halimah Yacob in a Facebook post on Monday afternoon.

Ceremonial guards have performed sentry duty at the main gate since 1959.

That was when it used to be guarded by combat troops from the 1st Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment - which was the only infantry regiment at that point in time.

The use of combat troops to guard the Istana ceased in 1968, with the formation of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Guards Unit.

The changing of guards ceremony took place for the very first time the next year.

The format of the ceremony is based on the British changing of guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

The ceremony officially denotes the handing over of responsibility to another platoon of guards.

Each platoon of 20 guards at the Istana is specially selected from the SAF Military Police (MP) Command.

Their primary role is to perform sentry duty on a monthly basis.

As a prelude to the ceremony, the incoming guards will march in from Koek Road accompanied by members of the SAF Band.

They will then link up with the outgoing guards at the main gate of the Istana, where as part of the ceremony, members of the SAF MP silent precision drill squad will also perform a rifle precision drill.

The ceremony, which lasts about 30 minutes, attracted crowds of onlookers every month before the pandemic.

It was held on the first Sunday evening of each month, except for July and August, when the ceremony was not performed.

Those who would like to find out more about the upcoming schedule can do so at this website.

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