When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong introduced the extension of the circuit breaker till June 1, there’s one factor that’s working by way of the minds of these within the Malay-Muslim group: there’s no Hari Raya this 12 months.
It’s solely the second week of Ramadan — a holy month when Muslims observe fasting — and the sombre temper is clear.
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With Singapore’s circuit breaker measures prohibiting massive gatherings and conferences between members of the family from totally different households, Ramadan this 12 months simply isn’t the identical.
Ramadan Bazaars Are Cancelled
When Individuals’s Affiliation first introduced that it will cancel the Ramadan bazaars on March 18 to keep away from massive crowds throughout the pandemic, many had been saddened by the information — customers and distributors alike — nevertheless it was deemed a vital transfer.
Moreover the long-lasting Geylang Serai bazaar, these at Tampines and Woodlands have additionally been suspended. The Geylang light-up — which provides to the festive cheer — can be not taking place this 12 months for the reason that nation’s in ‘circuit breaker’ mode.
It’s not an understatement to say that many Singaporeans really feel that Ramadan doesn’t really feel full with no journey to the bazaar. In actual fact, I do know many others who make a number of journeys to the bazaar(s) inside the month.
Regardless of the stifling crowds and sweltering warmth, there’s this unstated nostalgic attraction about Ramadan bazaars. Though many contend that it has pivoted to meals for hipsters, there’s no denying that we really love attempting out the varied novelty snacks.
Even for those who’re not there to purchase the meals or store for Hari Raya necessities and outfits, many nonetheless head over to bask within the festive environment with Hari Raya songs booming from each stall.
With the cancellation of bazaars, some organisers try to recreate bazaars on-line to maintain the cheer going.
In response to way of life portal Have Halal Will Journey, two on-line flea markets and a web-based bazaar are happening in April and Might. The Bazaar Ramadhan Singapore 2020 Fb group additionally has greater than 50,000 members so far.
Whereas digital bazaars usually are not the identical as strolling round a ‘stay’ bazaar, such initiatives are positively commendable because it helps sellers and different small companies which might be impacted by the suspension.
No Communal Breaking Quick
For the various Muslim members of our group, the fasting interval of Ramadan sees households and teams of associates coming collectively every night for Iftar to interrupt their quick.
Personally, the primary weekend of Ramadan is usually spent breaking quick with my prolonged household at my grandmother’s home — Saturday for maternal facet, Sunday for paternal facet.
Our Iftar are held ‘potluck’-style, the place every household must deliver their very own dish.
Nonetheless, with ‘circuit breaker’ measures in place similar to dining-in ban and the restriction of visiting others from totally different households, we at the moment are unable to get collectively to interrupt quick.
Whereas this meant that we get to spend extra time with our personal households that stay with us, it additionally makes us miss our household and associates a bit bit greater than typical.
Many households nonetheless are turning to video-conferencing instruments like Zoom to just about break quick collectively. Whereas it’s not the identical as bodily being collectively, it has positively helped to bridge the space.
Mosques Are Closed
The Islamic Spiritual Council of Singapore (MUIS) introduced on March 24 that it’ll shut all 70 mosques in Singapore till additional discover to stop any additional unfold of Covid-19.
Because of this Muslims can not head to the mosques to do their prayers, together with the congregational tarawih prayers.
Muslims observe Ramadan by fasting throughout daytime, but additionally important to this holy month are gatherings to share meals and participate in communal prayers — referred to as tarawih, or evening prayers.
Congregational prayers are typically a giant a part of the lives of many Muslims, however much more so throughout Ramadan with tarawih prayers held every day at many mosques throughout the nation.
Now that mosques are closed, MUIS urges Muslims to conduct their prayers at residence as a substitute.
Regardless of the closure, mosques are making non secular lectures and prayer guides for Ramadan out there on-line. In the meantime, the needy will nonetheless get free meals delivered to their residence with the same old safe-distancing measures in place.
Whereas many sit up for praying congregation and assembly associates on the mosque throughout Ramadan, there are literally many advantages to praying at residence.
We are able to now concentrate on praying with our households, which helps to strengthen household bonds.
So Is Hari Raya ‘Cancelled’?
After all, there isn’t a official phrase that Hari Raya is really ‘cancelled’ nevertheless it seems to be like we shall be sparing the same old festive celebrations this 12 months.
Malaysia is at the moment mulling the potential of deferring its Hari Raya public holidays, however Singapore authorities has not shed any intentions to make an analogous transfer.
That stated, we are going to most probably be spending a quiet Hari Raya at residence this 12 months. So is there actually a degree in shopping for new furnishings, kuihs, and Hari Raya garments as we do each single 12 months?
With visiting different’s homes prohibited, it additionally begs the purpose of Hari Raya — past the celebrations and feasting with family members, Hari Raya can be a time to say sorry, reconcile and renew relationships with others.
Will it nonetheless be doable to realize these just about? I don’t suppose so. Doing it just about — by check, cellphone or video name — is rarely the identical as doing it face-to-face.
Whereas we’ve established that Hari Raya is not going to be the identical this 12 months, Singaporeans are clearly attempting its hardest to maintain the festive spirit alive.
Featured Picture Credit score: Hi there! Singapore Excursions