In Pictures – Ramadan and the countdown to Hari Raya 

sg hari raya

As a sign of just how far Singapore’s multiculturalism has become part of our DNA, Ramadan and the lead-up to Hari Raya has become somewhat of a nationwide celebration. The annual bazaar at Geylang Serai is now a mainstay of our social calendar. And even though the majority of Singaporeans do not fast, joining our Muslim friends for an Iftar feast is something many of us look forward to every year.  

Here’s a look at how our MPs bask in the festive spirit with their residents this Ramadan. 

Dates and porridge 

Dates and porridge might be common, but they take on a special significance during Ramadan. “Did you know that Muslims like to eat dates in odd numbers?” shared MP Mariam Jaafar (Sembawang GRC) as she embarked on a walkabout handling out dates, a popular food that marks the end of daily fasting and is considered Sunnah (the way of the prophet).  

Porridge distribution is another much-loved tradition that embodies the spirit of giving during Ramadan. The annual affair enables me to connect with Jalan Kayu residents who are fasting, said MP Ng Ling Ling (Ang Mo Kio GRC).  

But in reality, Bubur Lambuk or spiced porridge is enjoyed by everyone. As MP Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) pointed out, the porridge is for the public, regardless of race and religion which is part of the Ramadan spirit. 

Food and prayers  

After a nibble of dates and porridge to break the fast, it’s time for the main meal. As a food-obsessed nation, Singaporeans never needed any excuse to makan. But throughout the month of Ramadan, Buka Puasa means that there is now an additional reason to get together for a feast.  

It was a community affair as MPs Desmond Lee, Rachel Ong, and Patrick Tay joined hundreds of residents from West Coast and Pioneer constituencies for Buka Puasa. “Glad to see so many families spending time together,” added Mr Lee.  

Meanwhile, MP Sun Xueling (Punggol West SMC) joined congregants at the Masjid Al Islah Punggol to break their fast. “This is an excellent way to promote inter-religious understanding and respect,” said Ms Sun. And we must add that the giant plate of food looks absolutely sumptuous.  

Terawih prayers are another Ramadan tradition. “Our dedicated Qaryah leaders play a pivotal role in managing the nightly prayers,” said MP Zaqy Mohamad (Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC), who joined congregants in Limbang and Yew Tee for one of the sessions. And may this time of reflection and prayer bring us closer in faith and community, added the MP. 

And finally, it’s Bazaar Time! 

When night falls, that is when the bazaars popping up all around Singapore come to life. It is also one of our favourite parts of Ramadan, with food stalls that are an explosion to both the palate (and wallets). 

With over 500 stalls at the Geylang Serai bazaar, there is literally something for everyone. Including Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who seems enamoured with an exquisite carpet from Iran.  

Also visiting the Geylang Serai bazaar is Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, who was joined by Minister Dr Maliki Osman, MOS Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, SMS Zaqy Mohamad, SPS Rahayu Mahzam, and Mayor Fahmi Aliman.  

“Chatting to stallholders…I am genuinely inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit flourishing within our Malay/Muslim community. Their creativity and passion…have been instrumental in driving Singapore’s entrepreneurial landscape,” said Mr Masagos.  

Finally, while Geylang Serai might be the mother of all bazaars, the heartlands are buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit too. Nearly half of the vendors here are currently running home-based businesses,” said Nee Soon GRC MP Minister K. Shanmugam when he visited the heartland bazaar with the rest of the Nee Soon team.  

With Hari Raya just around the corner, this is the final weekend to savour what our bazaars have to offer. More importantly, the holy month for our Muslim community is also an opportunity for all Singaporeans to celebrate our multiculturalism. Through an alchemy of good food and company, of course. 

Photo Source: Mariam Jaafar/ Saktiandi Supaat/ Ng Ling Ling/Desmond Lee/ Sun Xueling/ Zaqy Mohamad / Heng Swee Keat / K. Shanmugam/ Masagos Zulkifli/ Rahayu Mahzam via Facebook