Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore is a day of celebration for the Muslims as it marks the end of their one month of fasting. This is also a very important day for all Muslims around the world.
What is Ramadan?
This is the time, one month before Hari Raya, where Muslims are expected to start fasting from dawn till sunset in the evening at around 7pm. However, the sick are excused this obligation. Young Muslim children are also taught from a young age to start fasting too.
During this period, Muslims are taught not to indulge in any form of cheating or lying. All followers have to observe self-control and to be submitted to the all mighty Allah, the Holy One.
Hari Raya Preparations
The Muslims in Singapore will start their Hari Raya preparations weeks before, at least a month before the festival. In Geylang Serai, a popular commercial place where the Muslims gather, the place is always filled with decorations. Crowds of busy shoppers can be seen during this period of time. You can see many Bazaars set up, shopping centers and shops selling mainly festive goodies.
In the evenings, the road along Geylang are brightly decorated and colorfully littered up. In shops you can find beautiful sarongs, carpets, food, music CDs, household items and VCDs. A wide variety of food is sold and they usually include Malay kuehs, otah-otah, breads, curry puffs etc. Many Muslims will shop here for their daily necessities and for the food.
Hari Raya Celebrations
Every Muslim home is busy preparing for their Hari Raya celebration a few weeks before, during the fasting month of Ramadan. Women love to sew many beautiful curtains and new clothes for themselves and for their family members. Muslims love to decorate their home as well to make sure that it is nicely done up before inviting their friends to their home. Artificial flowers are one of the many popular items for this festival.
After the one month fasting month, Muslims welcome the day they celebrate Hari Raya Puasa. Like the Chinese on the Chinese New Year in Singapore, the Muslims wakes up to put on their very best new clothes and head out to the nearby mosque to pray. On this day they would ask for forgiveness from their parents and elders. This tradition marks an important custom observed by the Muslims.
After paying respect to their elders, they would visit their friends and relative to celebrate this happy occasion together which usually last for about a month.
The Muslims in Singapore are a friendly race and many also invite their non-Muslims friends to their house to share their food and snacks. Muslim dishes are a favorite among non-Muslims as it has rich gravies and some are spicy. On these days you'll find the common dishes like ketupat, lontong, nasi padang and beef rendang.
Kids are the most happiest as they can look forward to receiving green packets or 'gifts of money' from their elders. Hari Raya Puasa is a happy festival for the local Muslims in Singapore.