The festival of Eid, known in Singapore as Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Hari Raya Puasa, falls on the first day of Syawal, the 10th month of the Hijrah (Islamic) calendar. The Hijrah calendar is a lunar calendar and therefore the dates on which Hari Raya Puasa falls varies each year. It is a celebratory occasion following a month of fasting, which is known as Ramadan. Hari Raya is Malay for "grand day of rejoicing". In Singapore, it is the most prominent of all Muslim festivals.
The Fasting Month Of Ramadan - Ramadan falls on the 9th month of the Islamic year. Puasa is Malay for "fasting". Fasting in Islam means abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and indulging in any form of behaviour that serves to nullify the fast. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and perform religious duties, such as reading the Quran.
Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is a time of forgiveness within the Muslim community and a time for strengthening of bonds amongst relatives and friends. New clothes, decorated houses and exchange of invitations between friends and relatives commemorate Hari Raya Puasa.
Hari Raya Puasa
Hari Raya Puasa, or known to others as Aidil Fitri, is a very important religious day on the Muslim calendar. This Malay festival in Singapore is celebrated at the end of the Ramadan period, the month after fasting and alms giving for the Muslims. Hari Raya falls on the 10th month of the Muslim calendar, call the Hijrah calendar. With only 354 days and employs no significant leap year, the lunar-based Hijrah calendar can fall on any months of the solar calendar.
A visit to Geylang Serai Market or Kampong Glam is a good experience to have during this period, especially in the late afternoon when they come together to break fast. The celebrations start with the birth of the new moon of Syawal - the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims would attend sessions of prayers in the mosque early in the morning. By noon, they will put on their best outfits and are ready to visit their friends and relatives for a thanksgiving feast.
Signifying the 'openness' of the heart and mind, Hari Raya Puasa in a multi-cultural country like Singapore is often celebrated with the practice of Muslims inviting their non-Muslim friends to join in the festivities.
Eid al-Fitr عيد الفطر (Feast of Breaking the Fast)
Arabic: عيد الفطر ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, IPA: [ʕiːd al fitˤr], "festival of breaking of the fast", also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, Bayram (Bajram), the Sweet festival and the Lesser Eid, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm).
The religious Eid is a single day and Muslims are not permitted to fast that day. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.
The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This is a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. However in most countries, it is generally celebrated on the same day as Saudi Arabia.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Muslims throughout Malaysia celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri in a big way following the month of Ramadhan, the Muslim month of fasting and abstinence. It is very symbolic as it represents victory for Muslims who have successfully undergone a month-long battle of self-restraint and abstinence by fasting. Fasting in the month of Ramadhan, an obligatory practice, is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The celebration officially begins after the sighting of the crescent in the late evening on the last day of Ramadhan month, usually by religious officials at several vantage points throughout the country. If the crescent is sighted, then the next day is declared as Hari Raya Aidilfitri as it is the first day of the Syawal month. Muslims celebrate it by going to the Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers held at mosques early in the morning, then a visit to the cemetery to pray for their loved ones' departed souls after the prayers followed by the traditional Malaysian 'Open House' where relatives and friends visit each other.
Two special delicacies that could be savoured during Hari Raya Aidilfitri are ketupat (rice cooked in a packet woven from coconut leaves) and lemang (glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk in bamboo stems), both are served with rendang (meat cooked with spices and coconut milk until almost dry).