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Where to Celebrate Hari Raya in Singapore

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Places to go and celebrate Hari Raya with friends and family in Singapore

Hari Raya as we commonly know it is also called Hari Raya Puasa, or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or Eid al-Fitr, or simply as Raya amongst the Singaporeans. Hari Raya Puasa refers to the “Festival of Breaking The Fast” and is not to be confused with Hari Raya Haji which refers to the “Festival of Sacrifice.”

This celebration is a way of marking the end of the holy Islamic month of Ramadhan which will take place from April 23rd to May 23rd this year. The holy month of fasting sees Muslims (except the sick, elderly, pregnant, or menstruating) around the world abstain from eating or drinking from dawn till dusk.

This day is fast approaching and will be celebrated on the 24th of May. This annual occasion is celebrated by people of the Muslim faith and is usually made into a public holiday. The date varies from year to year because it’s dependent on the lunar calendar. Hari Raya traditionally falls on the first day of Shawwal, which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.

What to do/ Where to go for Hari Raya

With the coronavirus pandemic still going on, there’s a circuit-breaker lockdown in place in Singapore. As a result, house visiting even amongst family members is not to be done. We also expect that most mosques will be closed during this period. Pilgrims are also advised against visiting Mecca. If things change before then, here are some ideas on how you can end your fasting with a joyous celebration of:

  1. Forgiveness
  2. Fellowship
  3. Food

A typical day starts with adherents visiting the mosque to say special prayers. Afterwards, they seek forgiveness from elders before heading out to visit their friends and relatives. That’s the time to start feasting on the food.

Families also visit the graves of their loved ones to pay their respects.

Where can you go in Singapore?

  1. The iconic Sultan mosque
  2. Geylang Serai Bazaar to shop for a vast array of products ranging from cakes to sweets and clothes
  3. Kampong Gelam to catch a glimpse of the Malay culture unfold

NOTE: If the lockdown is still in place by then, you should follow the events online and join in the festivities from home.

What to eat during Hari Raya

If you get invited to a Hari Raya feast, you’ll find a wide variety of dishes. One common one is beef rendang which is braised meat cooked in coconut milk and spices. Other traditional foods that are a must-eat during the celebrations include:

  1. Sayur lodeh – vegetables cooked in coconut milk gravy
  2. Sambal – spicy chili paste
  3. Ketupat – steamed rice cakes packed in iconic diamond-shaped woven palm leaf pouches
  4. Lontong – steamed rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves
  5. Putu piring – steamed rice cakes with sweet grated coconut
  6. Dodol – the Asian equivalent of toffees made from coconut milk, gula Melaka, and rice flour
  7. Kueh – bite-sized snacks 
  8. Ondeh-ondeh – chewy balls with gooey palm sugar centers

If you are dining with other people, make a point of washing your hands before joining the table even if there are forks and spoons laid out for you. You should also use your right hand to receive or pass food as the left hand is considered unclean.

What to gift during Hari Raya

People exchange different types of gifts and when you’re invited to people’s homes you shouldn’t show up empty-handed. Just make sure that whatever you bring is halal. 

For Hari Raya, make a point of avoiding bringing anything non-halal such as alcohol. Some of the gifts that we recommend can include a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, or cupcakes.

Hari Raya Traditions

What are some of the things that people do for the Hari Raya celebration?

If you don’t know what this celebration is all about, there’s no need to worry. We have put together useful information to understand it better.

Some traditions of the day include:

  1. Decorations such as “Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri” signs, mosque cut-outs, oil lamps, lanterns, colorful string lights, a crescent moon, and star garlands are common in Muslim homes and mosques during this time of year.
  2. Handing out green packets containing money to children and the elderly. These are referred to as ”sampul duit Raya.”
  3. Digging into delicious foods and snacks like beef rendang, kuih bangkit (tapioca cookies), and kuih tart (pineapple tarts)
  4. Exchanging Muslim greetings with sayings like “Eid Mubarak” which means have a blessed holiday or “Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf zahir dan batin” which means “Happy Hari Raya; I seek forgiveness for any physical and emotional wrongdoings.”

Hari Raya is a day of families coming together to remember their loved ones who have passed and offer their apologies for any wrongs committed over the past year. As the holy Islamic month of Ramadhan approaches, you must be gearing up for the ultimate celebration – Hari Raya.

Congratulations on having made it to the end of Ramadhan. For making it through the fasting which serves as a reminder of the suffering faced by the less fortunate and for practicing charitable deeds and acts of compassion. 

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