How We’re Celebrating Hari Raya

Hear how our Muslim brothers and sisters intend to enjoy the upcoming Hari Raya festivities, and what the occasion means to them.

By Sean Yee        20 April 2023

Also known as Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking Fast), this symbolic period, which begins on 22 April this year, concludes a month-long fast with exciting revelry filled with traditional dishes, customary rituals, and the company of loved ones. And of course, what is a festival if not for the sharing of joy?

Let’s kickstart the celebrations with our Muslim friends, as they share more on the significance of the occasion, and what they are most excited about. Selamat Hari Raya everyone!

“This will be the very first Hari Raya that I’ll be spending with my newborn! Already, there is an endless stream of baby outfit ideas that are running amok in my head – it’s my daughter’s first Hari Raya so definitely, she will have to be dressed like the star that she is! My baby will have to share the spotlight, though, as we intend to wear matching outfits for the most glamorous of entrances! 

Family is what makes the festival so special anyway, isn’t it? The Hari Raya festive programmes that play on repeat, the delicious food, the lights, and the company – all of them contribute to this timelessly festive vibe that is just so unique and beautiful, elevating the year with a special sprinkle of joy. This year is even more momentous with the newest addition to my family! Everyone look out – Maisarah and her family are here to slay this Hari Raya, and we aren’t stopping for nothing!” – Maisarah Saneb, Logistics Overseer 

Halmie Mattar (back row, first from left)

“Hari Raya for me is a huge and wondrous spectacle that is just bustling with activities! This year especially so, given how Covid-19 had us celebrating virtually via Skype for 2 years. 

The mornings are usually dedicated to our immediate families, with mine gathering for our annual photoshoot. We always capture a family picture to kickstart the celebrations, so as to immortalise our growth as people, and our bond as a family. Then, like most, we would break our fast with a delicious spread of food!

I love food and this occasion is every foodie’s dream! From my mother’s exotic Arabic delights to my wife’s sambal goreng and my aunt’s traditional Chinese dumplings, the food is also representative of the cultural diversity in my family, spanning up to 200 people if you include my extended family! We try to share this joy with the community as well, giving out boxes of snacks and goodies to needy families a week before.” – Halmie Mattar, Public Health Director and Volunteer in SAFRA Jurong’s Executive Committee

Nur Afiqah (front row, first from left)

“I’m a largely family-oriented person and Hari Raya, to me, is the exemplification of family love. It’s one of the few occasions we are reunited with our extended families, enjoying the comforts of familiarity alongside amazing food that is reserved solely for the occasion. Given that for the last two years, we did not really celebrate Hari Raya with the prevalence of Covid-19, this year’s celebrations will be an exceptionally unique one, as it reminds us how important family is, especially during the most difficult of times. 

One thing is new though – I have started working and will be the one giving out the duit (money in green packets) this year to my cousins!” – Nur Afiqah Binte Mohammad Noor, Human Resource Executive 

“Hari Raya isn’t Hari Raya without a stop at Geylang Serai! Usually right before the festivities, I would visit the annual Ramadan Bazaar, enjoying the breaking of fast accompanied by the festive lighting. 

Then comes the first day, when I would be dressed in my new baju Melayu (traditional Malay outfit) before heading to the mosque for the customary communal prayers. Family gatherings are super exciting – you see everyone dressed in brand new festive outfits (baju Melayu for males, baju kurung for females) looking especially glamorous and fine, all the while enjoying a spread of mouthwatering dishes like rendang and sambal sotong. We cannot forget the sweet treats – oh, the sinfully delightful cookies, meringues and cakes!

Of course, the occasion’s symbolism is very important to me as well – it signifies the pardoning of our sins, allowing us to forgive and forget, so that we may continue to live and grow.” – Zairy Bin Samat, SAFRA Customer Service Officer

“Hari Raya for me is a reconciliation of both the past and present, as I reflect on and appreciate what I had then, and have now. 

I would pay a visit to the Muslim cemetery to pay respects to the loved ones who aren’t with me today, reciting prayers so that they may live comfortably in the hereafter. This is followed by a visit to the nearby mosque for the Aidilfitri prayers, which remind us to be grateful for not only us, but our fellow brothers and sisters in the world, both Muslims and non-Muslims. 

Then comes the more exciting part – food and family! Of course, given what this festival represents, in addition to the typical conversations about our lives, we also use this opportunity to put aside any grudges or anger towards one another, purifying ourselves of unnecessary hate and conflict that may inhibit our personal growth.” – Muhd Naeem Bin Mohd Nasser, student

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