HARI RAYA IN SINGAPORE
Hari Raya is an important Malay festival largely celebrated. It is one of the country’s most prominent and distinguished festivals that involves the largest annual mass human migration in the world. The Hari Raya festival is centuries old and associated with several customs.
Hari Raya marks the end of the fasting month for Muslims. It is a day of joyous celebrations. It is considered the festival of gratitude to God and an occasion celebrated with families and loved ones. It is also the time of feasts, homecoming, contemplation, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Families and Decorations
Often the day starts with Muslims wake up early, visit the mosque and thank God for the blessings they have in life. They also seek forgiveness from their elders and receive ‘green’ packets of money. While dressed in their best, people visit family and friends and dig into delicious food! Balik kampung or Homecoming is just like the tradition in the west during Christmas seasons – when everyone returns to their hometowns to celebrate the occasion with their families. It is expected that around this time air, land and sea tickets will be sold out fast, so everyone tends to book their journey home in advance.
Clothing largely feature women usually either wearing a Baju Kurong, Baju Kebaya or Jubah while men wear the male version of a Baju Kurong together with a Kain Samping (a piece of cloth worn over the trouser of the Baju Kurong). It is common to see men wear a Songkok on their heads as well. It doesn’t really matter if you wear a Kebaya or Kurong as it is a matter of preference. Windows and doors are decorated with Hari Raya decorations. The celebration begins with its first stop, the visit to the mosque followed by the visitation to the parents’ house. Kids also expect their green packets during the visitations, and so you should always be prepared with your paper bills and those green packets. It is also greatly encouraged that during this time, Muslims are to give an obligatory tithe also known as ‘zakat fitrah’ which is collected by the mosques and is then distributed to the needy and less privileged.
Last but not the least, what everyone has been looking forward to – the much awaited feast! These foods are never to be missed, every household will surely have these: ketupat, rendang, lemang and kueh raya. Above all else “diet” is a forgotten word on the day of celebration, it’s all about having good food while being surrounded by great company of people.
As Singapore is known for its good food and delicacies, you can never go hungry during the festivities. Here are some Hari Raya snacks that some of you might find familiar, else, what are you waiting for? Try them!! It ranges from ketupats to kueh lapis to lontong to satay’s and many more!
Events and Celebrations
Widely celebrated in Singapore, there are stalls everywhere that embrace this festival and engage in selling decorations such as lanterns, green packets, fire crackers of course not forgetting the tasty snacks we love so much.
As Singapore is a very diverse little island, filled with people from all walks of life, this festival is celebrated in schools, community centers (RCs) and within corporate companies. Companies celebrate by decorating the offices and organizing a pot-luck to spread the festive events .it is largely and brightly celebrated in the heart of Geylang , where the roads are lit with decorations. Many people from all walks of life come together on this special day to bask in the beautiful atmosphere, harmoniously, learning about others’ traditions and also to enjoy the wonderful varieties of food and celebrations at the Geylang Bazaar.
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