Discovering the meaning: What Does Merlion Symbolize?

The Merlion is a fascinating symbol of Singapore that has captured the imagination of locals and tourists alike. Standing tall at 8.6 meters high and weighing 70 tons, this mythical creature has become a cultural icon and a source of national pride. So what does the Merlion symbolize? Well, for starters, it is a representation of Singapore’s maritime heritage and its ties to the sea. Its fish body and lion head are a nod to Singapore’s former name, Singapura, which means “city of the lion” in Malay.

But the Merlion is more than just a tourist attraction or a nod to Singapore’s history. It also embodies the spirit of the nation and its people. The creature is a symbol of strength, courage, and resilience – qualities that Singaporeans possess in abundance. It serves as a reminder that, despite its small size, Singapore can hold its own against larger and more powerful nations, and that its people can overcome any obstacle that comes their way. In short, the Merlion is a powerful symbol of Singapore’s past, present, and future.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the Merlion is a must-see attraction in Singapore. It offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the city-state and the values that its people hold dear. So next time you’re in Singapore, be sure to pay a visit to the Merlion and bask in its majesty and symbolism.

History of Merlion

The Merlion is a mythical creature that has been part of Singapore’s identity since 1964. It is a symbol of the country’s history and culture. The word Merlion is a combination of the words “mer” meaning sea and “lion,” which represents Singapore’s original name, Singapura, meaning “Lion City.”

The Merlion was created by Alec Fraser-Bruner, a member of the Souvenir Committee for the Singapore Tourism Board. The idea behind the Merlion was to create a unique symbol that would represent Singapore and its location as a seaport city.

  • The original Merlion statue was unveiled on 15 September 1972 at the mouth of the Singapore River, where it served as a symbol of the country’s history and culture.
  • As a result of its popularity, the Singapore Tourism Board created a smaller version of the Merlion statue, which was installed at Merlion Park in 1975. It quickly became a popular tourist attraction.
  • Over the years, the Merlion has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Singapore, with its image appearing on everything from souvenirs to local advertisements.

Today, the original Merlion statue no longer stands, having been dismantled in 1982 to make way for the construction of the Esplanade Bridge. However, the 8.6-meter-tall Merlion statue at Merlion Park remains a popular tourist attraction, with visitors flocking to take pictures with the iconic symbol of Singapore.

Facts about Merlion

The Merlion is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It has become a well-known symbol of Singapore and can be seen as a mascot for the country. Here are some interesting facts about the Merlion:

  • The official name of the Merlion is the Merlion Cub.
  • The Merlion was designed in 1964 by Alec Fraser-Brunner, a curator at the Van Kleef Aquarium.
  • The head of the Merlion represents Singapore’s original name, “Singapura” which means “lion city” in Malay.

The body of the Merlion represents Singapore’s strong ties to the sea and its history as a fishing village. The Merlion statue stands at 8.6 meters tall and weighs approximately 70 tons. The Merlion is located at Merlion Park and attracts millions of visitors each year.

Meaning of the Merlion Symbol

The Merlion is an important symbol of Singapore and it represents a few key things. Firstly, it represents Singapore’s history and roots as a fishing village. The body of the Merlion is a fish, which is a nod to Singapore’s fishing heritage.

The head of the Merlion with its lion features represents Singapore’s original name, “Singapura” which means “lion city” in Malay. The Merlion combines these two key elements of Singaporean heritage into one iconic symbol.

Body Meaning
Head Represents the country’s original name, “Singapura”
Body Represents Singapore’s history as a fishing village
Fish Tail Represents Singapore’s history as a port city and its connection to the sea

The Merlion symbolizes Singapore’s unique blend of history, culture, and modernity. It has become an important cultural icon for the country and is recognized around the world as a symbol of Singapore.

The Significance of Merlion in Singaporean Culture

Located in the heart of Singapore’s Merlion Park, the Merlion statue is an iconic symbol of the country’s culture and history. This mythical creature, with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, represents Singapore’s past as a fishing village and the country’s transformation into a modern metropolis. Here are some key reasons why the Merlion has such significance in Singaporean culture:

  • Symbol of Prosperity: The Merlion is associated with good fortune and prosperity in Singaporean culture. Its lion head represents strength, courage, and resilience, while its fish body signifies Singapore’s origins as a fishing village and its thriving maritime economy. Many consider the Merlion a key symbol of Singapore’s success as a business hub and a prosperous city-state.
  • Tourist Attraction: The Merlion is one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions and a must-visit spot for visitors to the country. The Merlion statue and the surrounding Merlion Park offer magnificent views of the central business district and the Marina Bay waterfront. Visitors can take pictures with the statue, learn about its significance, and shop for souvenirs at nearby gift shops.
  • National Identity: The Merlion is an important symbol of Singapore’s national identity and pride. Its origin dates back to 1964, when the Singapore Tourism Board created the mythical creature as a logo for the country’s tourism industry. Since then, the Merlion has become synonymous with Singapore and its unique culture, history, and values. It is a source of inspiration and unity for many Singaporeans, who feel a strong emotional connection to the iconic statue.

The Merlion is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and beloved symbols of Singaporean culture. Its rich history, cultural significance, and unique design make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the country. Whether you are a tourist or a local, the Merlion is a true embodiment of Singapore’s spirit and resilience.

The Design of the Merlion

The Merlion’s unique design is a key part of its significance in Singaporean culture. The creature has the head of a lion, which represents strength, courage, and majestic leadership. The lion’s mane is shaped like waves, which symbolize Singapore’s maritime heritage and the country’s close ties to the sea. The Merlion’s body is that of a fish, which represents Singapore’s origins as a fishing village and its thriving fishing industry. The fish scales are meant to symbolize Singapore’s resilience and adaptability.

The Merlion’s design was created by Alec Fraser-Brunner, a British artist who was commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board in the 1960s. The original Merlion statue stood at 8.6 meters tall and was located at the mouth of the Singapore River. In 2002, a larger Merlion statue was unveiled in Merlion Park, standing at 37 meters tall and weighing over 70 tons.

The Legend of the Merlion

Like many mythical creatures, the Merlion has a rich legend behind it. According to Singaporean folklore, the Merlion is said to have been born when a prince of Srivijaya, a historical kingdom in Southeast Asia, sailed to Singapore and encountered a lion on the island. The prince took this as a good omen and decided to name the island “Singapura,” which means “lion city” in Sanskrit. The Merlion was created by the Singapore Tourism Board in the 1960s to represent this legend and to commemorate Singapore’s transformation into a modern metropolis.

Symbolism Meaning
Lion Head Strength, courage, leadership
Wavy Mane Maritime heritage, close ties to the sea
Fish Body Origins as a fishing village, thriving fishing industry
Fish Scales Resilience, adaptability

Today, the Merlion remains one of the most beloved and iconic symbols of Singaporean culture. With its rich history, beautiful design, and powerful symbolism, the Merlion will continue to inspire and captivate people from all around the world for many generations to come.

Interpretation of Merlion by tourists

Merlion, the half-lion and half-fish mythical creature, holds a significant place in Singapore’s history and tourism. Merlion is Singapore’s national icon and its image is prominently featured in tourist brochures, tokens, and souvenirs. Tourists from around the world have visited Singapore and interpreted the Merlion in various ways. Here are some of the interpretations of Merlion by tourists:

  • Symbol of Singapore: Many tourists recognize the Merlion as the national symbol of Singapore and associate it with the country’s culture, heritage, and identity.
  • Tourist attraction: Some tourists consider Merlion as a popular tourist attraction where they can click selfies and photos with their loved ones.
  • Artistic representation: Several tourists find Merlion as an artistic representation of Singapore’s creative spirit and innovation.

However, the interpretation of Merlion is not limited to the above-mentioned ones. Tourists have also interpreted Merlion as a sign of good luck, a symbol of prosperity, and a representation of Singapore’s maritime heritage.

Here’s what the number of tourists who visited the mythical creature in 2019:

Month Number of visitors
January 101,000
February 89,000
March 117,000
April 98,000
May 105,000
June 87,000
July 95,000
August 99,000
September 102,000
October 112,000
November 98,000
December 105,000

The above data proves that Merlion remains a significant tourist attraction throughout the year, and it showcases Singapore’s commitment to its tourism industry.

Merlion as a Symbol of Singapore Tourism

The mythical creature known as the Merlion has become the symbol of Singapore tourism. The Merlion is a creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. This creature was designed by Fraser Brunner and was originally used as a logo by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). It was later transformed into a statue, which is now one of the most iconic landmarks in Singapore.

  • The Merlion is a part of Singapore’s heritage.
  • The Merlion statue is located at Merlion Park, which is a popular tourist attraction.
  • The Merlion is a symbol of Singapore’s economic success.

The Merlion represents Singapore’s transition from a small fishing village to a booming metropolis. Singapore’s economy has grown exponentially in the past few decades, and the Merlion is a reminder of this success.

The Merlion has also become a symbol of the country’s hospitality and warm welcome to visitors. The Merlion statue is one of the most photographed attractions in Singapore, and visitors often take pictures while standing in front of it.

Year No. of Visitors
2015 15.2 million
2016 16.4 million
2017 17.4 million

The number of visitors to Singapore has increased steadily over the years, and the Merlion has played a significant role in this growth. The Merlion has become a symbol of Singapore’s tourism industry and its warm hospitality towards visitors.

Etymology of Merlion

The word Merlion is a combination of two words, “mer” meaning sea, and “lion,” representing royalty and strength. The name is fitting for a creature that is half lion and half fish, symbolizing Singapore’s strong connection to the sea.

Meaning of the Merlion

  • The Merlion symbolizes Singapore as a city-state that is located on the edge of the sea and combines both eastern and western cultures.
  • The lion head of the Merlion represents Singapore’s founding as a city named Singapura or “lion city” in Malay.
  • The fish body symbolizes Singapore’s earliest days as a fishing village and its dependence on the sea for its livelihood.

The Merlion as a Tourist Attraction

The Merlion’s popularity has made it a must-see attraction in Singapore, attracting both locals and tourists from around the world. Today, there are five Merlion statues in Singapore, with the original being located at the mouth of the Singapore River.

The Merlion’s image can be seen everywhere, from souvenirs and postcards to corporate logos and advertisements. It has become an iconic symbol of Singapore and its unique identity.

The Many Faces of the Merlion

Over the years, the Merlion has taken on many different forms and variations, reflecting Singapore’s diverse and ever-changing culture. Some examples include:

Type of Merlion Description
Mermaid Lion A Merlion with a mermaid’s tail instead of a fish tail
Souvenir Merlion A miniature Merlion sold as a souvenir
Special Occasion Merlion A Merlion dressed up for a special occasion, such as the National Day Parade

The Merlion continues to evolve and change with the times, but its fundamental meaning and importance to Singapore remain constant.

Merlion as a Mascot

The Merlion, a mythical creature with a lion head and a fish body, is Singapore’s national icon and a popular tourist attraction. It stands tall at 8.6 meters and weighs 70 tonnes and is located at the entrance of the Marina Bay.

  • The Merlion was designed in 1964 by Fraser Brunner for the Singapore Tourism Board as a mascot to promote tourism.
  • The name Merlion is a combination of ‘mermaid’ and ‘lion’ and represents Singapore’s history as a fishing village and its importance as a lion city.
  • The Merlion also symbolizes the country’s founding values of courage, strength, and resilience.

Over the years, the Merlion has become more than just a mascot. It has become a symbol of Singapore’s identity and its status as a thriving nation. The majestic statue has also been featured in various movies and TV shows, making it a recognizable icon worldwide.

Today, the Merlion is an integral part of Singapore’s tourism industry, attracting millions of visitors each year who come to marvel at its beauty and learn about its history. You can visit the statue for free and take pictures with it. You can also learn more about the Merlion’s heritage by visiting the nearby Merlion Park and the Singapore Tourism Board Visitors Centre.

Merlion Facts
Height 8.6 meters
Weight 70 tonnes
Location Marina Bay
Designer Fraser Brunner

Overall, the Merlion serves as a proud symbol of Singapore’s past, present, and future. It reflects the country’s rich culture and diversity while also representing its determination to succeed and thrive in a changing world. The Merlion may have started as a mere mascot, but it has become an icon of strength, hope, and resilience for generations of Singaporeans.

Merlion-inspired souvenirs

The Merlion is an iconic symbol of Singapore, and it is only natural for visitors to want to take a piece of this national treasure home with them. Here are some Merlion-inspired souvenirs that you can find in Singapore:

  • Merlion plush toys – These cute and cuddly toys are perfect for children or anyone who wants a soft reminder of their trip to Singapore.
  • Merlion keychains – Keychains are a small and practical souvenir that can also be used as a keepsake for memories.
  • Merlion fridge magnets – Fridge magnets are a popular souvenir choice as they are affordable, practical, and easy to transport home. They also serve as a constant reminder of the trip.

Aside from these must-haves, you can also find a wide range of Merlion-inspired items such as t-shirts, caps, mugs, and pens, among others. These souvenirs have found their way to different parts of the world and have become popular among tourists to Singapore.

The significance of the Merlion-inspired souvenirs

The Merlion is more than just a statue. It represents the rich culture and heritage of Singapore, making it the perfect symbol to be featured on souvenirs. The Merlion is a unifying icon, and it has become synonymous with Singapore, representing not just its rich history but also its vibrant and dynamic future.

Merlion-inspired souvenirs serve as a piece of Singapore that you can take home with you, a reminder of its culture and heritage, and the experiences that came with your visit.

The Merlion Statue

The Merlion statue located at Merlion Park, overlooking the Marina Bay area, is one of the most popular attractions in Singapore. Tourists flock to the statue for photo opportunities, especially with the scenic backdrop of the coast and Singapore Flyer.

Height Length Weight
8.6 meters 30 meters 70 tons

The statue was erected in 1972 by the Singapore Tourism Board as a symbol of the city-state’s tourism industry. The Merlion represents Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village and honors its rich history and culture.

Whether you choose to take home a plush toy or keychain, or admire the statue in person, the Merlion remains a must-visit destination for every tourist in Singapore.

Controversies Surrounding Merlion

The Merlion is a mythical creature that is half-lion, half-fish and has become the symbol of Singapore, but it hasn’t been without its share of controversies. While many people see it as a beloved icon of the city-state, there are others who have criticized it for various reasons. Here are some of the controversies surrounding the Merlion:

  • Commercialization: Some Singaporeans feel that the Merlion has been over-commercialized and turned into a kitschy souvenir. The image of the Merlion can be found on everything from keychains to t-shirts, and some people feel that this has diluted its meaning and significance.
  • Origin: There is some debate over who actually designed the Merlion. The official story is that it was created by Alec Fraser-Brunner, a member of the Singapore Tourism Board, in 1964. However, there are some who claim that it was actually designed by a Filipino artist named Manuel Baldemor. This controversy is largely fueled by a lack of documentation and conflicting accounts.
  • Mixed Symbolism: Some people feel that the Merlion is a confusing symbol for Singapore. On the one hand, it is meant to represent the city-state’s maritime roots and its past as a fishing village. On the other hand, the lion half of the creature is a nod to Singapore’s identity as a modern, bustling city. Critics argue that these two symbols don’t necessarily mesh well together and can be jarring to outsiders who are unfamiliar with the Merlion.
  • Environmental Impact: The Merlion statue that is located at Merlion Park spouts water out of its mouth multiple times per day. This has caused some concern among environmentalists, as the constant flow of water could potentially be wasteful and contribute to water shortages. Additionally, some have raised questions about the cleanliness of the water that is being released.
  • Number Nine: When the Merlion statue was first opened to the public, there were originally nine Merlion statues in Singapore. However, over the years, these statues were gradually removed or replaced with other monuments. Today, the only place to see a Merlion statue in Singapore is at Merlion Park near the Marina Bay Sands.


Regardless of the controversies surrounding the Merlion, there is no denying that it is a recognizable and beloved symbol of Singapore. It has evolved over the years, but it still remains a fixture in the city-state and a popular destination for tourists. Whether you love it or hate it, the Merlion is an important part of Singapore’s identity and history.

Merlion in popular culture

The Merlion has become an iconic symbol of Singapore, and is often featured in popular culture both within Singapore and around the world. Here are 10 examples of how the Merlion has been represented in popular culture:

  • The Merlion is the official mascot of the Singapore Tourism Board, and appears in various marketing materials promoting Singapore as a tourist destination.
  • In the video game Street Fighter II, one of the playable characters, Sagat, is from Thailand and wears a necklace with a pendant that depicts the Merlion.
  • The Merlion has been featured on various Singaporean currency notes throughout the years.
  • In the animated series Phineas and Ferb, the title characters visit Singapore and encounter a giant robotic version of the Merlion that comes to life and attacks them.
  • In the anime K-On!, one of the characters, Yui Hirasawa, wears a t-shirt with a picture of the Merlion on it.
  • Singaporean singer Stefanie Sun released a song in 2004 called “The Merlion”, which was inspired by the statue and its significance to Singaporean culture.
  • In the video game Civilization VI, the Merlion appears as a “natural wonder” that can be discovered and exploited for its benefits.
  • In the Pixar film Inside Out, the character Joy visits Singapore and encounters a “small but mighty Merlion”.
  • The Merlion statue was featured prominently in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, which were held in Singapore.
  • Various companies and brands in Singapore have used the image of the Merlion in their advertising, including Singapore Airlines, Singapore Post, and Tiger Beer.

What Does Merlion Symbolize: FAQs

Q: What is a Merlion?

A: A Merlion is a mythical creature that has the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It is the official mascot of Singapore.

Q: What does the Merlion symbolize?

A: The Merlion symbolizes strength and bravery, as well as the history and culture of Singapore.

Q: Why was the Merlion chosen as the mascot for Singapore?

A: The Merlion was chosen as the mascot for Singapore because it is closely associated with the city-state’s history and maritime heritage.

Q: Can I see a Merlion in Singapore?

A: Yes, there are several Merlion statues located throughout Singapore, including a large statue at Merlion Park.

Q: Is the Merlion important to Singaporeans?

A: Yes, the Merlion is an important symbol for Singaporeans, representing their sense of pride in their country and culture.

Q: What other symbols are important to Singaporeans?

A: Other important symbols for Singaporeans include the national flag, the national anthem, and the lion dance.

Q: What are some interesting facts about the Merlion?

A: One interesting fact about the Merlion is that there are actually two official Merlion statues in Singapore – the original statue at Merlion Park and a larger statue on Sentosa Island.

Closing: Thanks for Exploring the Merlion Symbol with Us!

We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of the Merlion as a symbol of Singapore’s culture and heritage. Don’t forget to visit our site again for more interesting articles on travel and culture!