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10 Things about Hari Raya Every Singaporean Must Know

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How well do you think you know about Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore? Read on to find out how well-versed you are when it comes to the details about this special occasion! 


1.       What it is

Hari Raya Puasa, or Eid ul-Fitr, refers to the festival that celebrates the end of Ramadan. It marks the end of the fasting month, one that is meant to teach Muslims to be thankful, forgiving and repenting individuals, to enrich their physical bodies and spiritual souls, through both spiritual and physical purification – via abstinence from food and undesirable acts, such as smoking.

 

It is also the tradition for the Muslims to be donned in vibrant ethnic outfits when visiting their friends and family, much like the Chinese during their Chinese New Year. But it is important to note that Hari Raya is not the Islamic New Year.

 

2.       The Difference between Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji

You may think that every Singaporean ought to know the differences between these two occasions, but unfortunately there are still people who do not understand them entirely. As mentioned, Hari Raya Puasa celebrates the end of Ramadan. On the other hand, Hari Raya Haji, the “festival of sacrifice“, is celebrated to commemorate the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim, who sacrificed his son to God. Henceforth during this festival, the mosques in Singapore engage in the sacrificial slaughter of sheep, goats and cow, then distribute the meat to the needy.

 

3.       Traditional Food

Traditional dishes are definitely one of the highlights during this festival. Every household would have its kitchen bustling, with dishes being whipped up one after another. Interestingly, different Muslims enjoy different traditional dishes of their own. For instance, Malay Muslims have their rendang, lontong, and sambal goring, while Indian Muslims would have their own cultural dishes of nasi briyani, curry, samosas and tandoori chicken. Nonetheless, visiting guests are absolutely in for a treat!

 

4.       Sweet Snacks as Essential

This special day has another name: the Sweet Eid. This is because other than the savoury dishes being served, sweet snacks are also a “must-have”! Desserts such as the flaky, chewy ondeh-ondeh, and the soft putu piring with oozing sweet filling are not to be missed! If you are looking to gift some snacks or even get some for yourself during this festival, don’t forget to check out our exclusive Hari Raya Hampers!

 

5.       Green Packets

As a traditional custom, Malay Muslim elders would give young children green packets that contains cash, as a form of reward for them after going through the fasting month. However, it is important to note that the essence of visiting is to sustain and strengthen the ties between one another, and not to just collect green packets.

 

6.       Social Etiquette as a Guest

This one is for our non-Muslim friends who are visiting during Hari Raya. As guests, it is important to be respectful towards your hosts, therefore one needs to be mindful of dressing appropriately for the occasion. The key word is “modest”, so nothing too revealing or short. Bright colours are definitely preferable, and to dress in traditional outfits would be a great way to show your Muslim friends your appreciation of their culture. Another thing to note is to always use your right hand to handle foodstuff, and never your left as it is deemed “unclean”.

 

7.       A Month of Celebrations

Do you know that Malay Muslims in Singapore celebrate Hari Raya Puasa for up to a month, which is much longer than how it is celebrated in other parts of the world? The Raya month is also known as “Syawal”, and it is a tradition that Malay Muslims celebrate for the entire month of Syawal during Hari Raya Puasa.

 

8.       Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar

One of the most hyped-up carnivals in Singapore would be the Geylang Serai Bazaar which goes on for about a month during the month of Hari Raya Puasa. Not only will there be Raya goodies and other innovative gourmet creations for everyone, the iconic Hari Raya lights and decorations further enhances the festive atmosphere. If you’re lucky, you would even be able to catch some of the delightful performances during the weekends! If this is not enough for you, there are also other Ramadan bazaars at Eunos, Tampines and Woodlands!


9.       Hari Raya Shopping

One can’t do without a new wardrobe when it comes to a festive celebration. Located in the stretch along Geylang Serai, Joo Chiat Complex and Tanjong Katong Complex are some of the favourite spots of Malay Muslims in Singapore when it comes to Raya shopping, be it for traditional ethnic outfits or for foodstuff and ingredients. As for Indian Muslims, Mustafa and Tekka Centre in Little India are the usual places they would frequent for Raya shopping,


10.   Where to go during Hari Raya

Want to immerse yourself further in the joyous ambience of Hari Raya? Feel free to head down to some of the Hari Raya Open Houses at the National Museum of Singapore and the Malay Heritage Centre, where you can enrich yourself with more knowledge about the Malay culture and traditions. It’s never too late to learn and discover new interesting facts about our fellow compatriots!

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