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Jul 21, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Hari Raya Puasa

Food stalls at Bussoroh Street, Singapore during Ramadan 1974

Today on 20 July, 2012 marks the beginning of Ramadhan. I would like to wish all my Muslim friends a  blessed Ramadhan during the fasting month for Hari Raya Puasa 2012 everywhere in the world.

The Joy of Fasting  (Source: YourSingapore )
After 30 days of dawn-to-dusk fasting during Ramadan, the first three days of Hari Raya Aidilfitri are celebrated on a grand scale. While Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations are colourful and fascinating, you should take note that the fasting month leading up to the holiday is probably the best time to experience the Malay culture and heritage.

For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is devoted to worship, charitable deeds and acts of compassion. To purify one’s body and soul, they practice abstinence from food and drink during the day. When the sun sets, families and friends often gather to break the fast with evening prayers and meals, and the streets of Geylang Serai and Kampong Glam come alive with performances and street bazaars. If you’re in Singapore during Ramadan, this is the best times to soak in the festivities. Head to the Malay Village in Geylang Serai or make your way to Kampong Glam, an area that was once home to Singapore’s Malay royalty. Both ethnic enclaves attract Singaporeans of all races, and wherever you’re from, you’re welcome to take part in the celebrations.

Besides the glittering street light-ups and traditional decorations, you’ll find street stalls that open from early afternoon till late into the night, selling a wide variety of traditional food, fashion, textiles and handicrafts. From tailor-made traditional dresses known as ‘baju kurung’ to hand-woven cushion covers, from affordable Persian carpets to delightful flower arrangements, you’re bound to find a keepsake of the festivities. In Geylang Serai, you’ll also find stalls that personalise key chains and door signs for the home, all engraved and painted by hand on finely-crafted wood.

The main attraction of the bazaars is, of course, the food. A trip to the bazaars is simply not complete without sampling the variety of traditional Malay cakes and pastries called ‘kueh-kueh’. Take your pick from sweet snacks like pineapple tarts, ‘ondeh-ondeh’ made with palm sugar filled centres, and ‘putu piring’, a steamed dessert served with grated coconut.

When Hari Raya Aidilfitri arrives, Muslim families often dress in the same colour to signify their unity. The men wear a loose shirt with trousers known as ‘baju Melayu’ and the women wear the quintessential ‘baju kurung’. If you’re lucky enough, you might get an invite to a home-cooked Hari Raya Aidilfitri feast. A wide variety of spicy dishes are traditionally served during the three-day celebration, including spicy beef ‘rendang’, vegetable curry ‘sayur lodeh’ and Malay rice cakes called ‘ketupat’.

If you’re in Singapore during Ramadan, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the rich Malay heritage, and when Hari Raya Aidilfitri comes around, greet everyone with a joyous “Selamat Hari Raya”.

Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term "future shock" as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time".

As a home-bred Singaporean born in Singapore and lived in this country for over sixty years, I have not been "culturally shocked" in my homeland. As a multi-cultural society with fellow Singaporeans of multi-ethnic groups, multi-religions, multi-languages in school, during National Service, same workplaces for many years who could live, work and play together as a community harmoniously.  Singapore is a place of different peoples with one nation.

People is created in one human world internationally with different races, different skin colour but all are red-blooded all the same.  Same, same but different.  The buzzword is "integration"; not "segregation" to highlight the differences of human characteristic to create hatred and conflicts.

Look for common denominators, not differences to promote harmony as one.

Culturally distinct for every individual is born differently as designed by God Creator of every religion. To each their own spiritual practices according to their own mainstream religion in freedom of religion in Singapore.  The love for human beings and charity, compassion for mankind promoted by all religions.

During Ramadan every year,  Bussoroh Street, Singapore is lined with food stalls with the best kueh kueh and other Malay food stalls in the evening.

Our fellow Muslim Singaporeans attend the Masjid Sultan (Jawi مسجد سلطان ; Malay for Sultan Mosque) built in the 1900s is located at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road for prayers daily during Ramadan to break their fasting periods.  The food stalls and push-carts are opened for the convenience of the faithful Muslims who are the disciplined and religious Singaporeans at Masjid Sultan.

There are over 20 mosques in various parts of Singapore for Islam prayers during Ramadam, some of which are specially arranged at void decks and community centres.  Singaporeans from other communities are invited to take meals together after fasting break. Besides the traditional kueh kueh, nasi lemak, satay and mee rebus, there is a wide variety of choices this Ramadan, including a selection of non-traditional halal food - from Thai to Turkish fare.

Bussoroh Street Food Stalls - Then and Now

Buying of cakes at Bussoroh Street during the month of Ramadan.  The girls were busy selling cakes, every year, you will witness the same during the Muslim month of Famadan. It was held at teh Bussoroh Street behind the Sultan Mosque. Date: 07/02/1963

Favorite "kachang puteh" for the kids.

 Preparation for Hari Raya Puasa Celebrations

Home-baked "kueh lapis" to present to friends. Did you notice the child sleeping in the "sarong hammock"?

Everyone help in the family to sew new clothings and pillows for Hari Raya Puasa.

To prepare food for everyone after prayers during Ramadan

Mother and daughter helping to sew new curtains.

The family helping to weave "ketupats" for Hari Raya Puasa festival

Grand-daughter watching Grandma weaving "ketupats"

Hari Raya Puasa Shopping in the 1960s 

The loving father measures a new shirt for his son for Hari Raya
"Pasar Malam" stalls for Hari Raya shopping
Roadside stalls near Changi Market  c 1966
Customers buying new jewellery for Hari Raya
Latest designs for these young ladies for new shoes
New bags of the latest design for Hari Raya Puasa
Ketupat casings for sale if home-made ones are not available
New "songkok" for the young gentlemen
Flowers for decoration at home
"I love this new dress for Hari Raya, Bapa..."
The loving mother fitting new shoes for her daughter's Hari Raya Puasa
The roadside stalls beside the "longkang" at Geylang Serai



Blogger dashing hongeng said...

A well-researched piece of work and well-timed too. Selamat Hari Raya Adil Fitri to all Muslims in Singapore.

July 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger yanaarsyadileiper said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful piece.... Very well put... The photos are remarkable. Never thought that I would be able to see photos of yesteryear's Hari Raya, such as these... Bravo!!

August 12, 2012 at 12:32 AM  

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