Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Selamat Hari Raya, Singapore!!

It's a little late I know, but I wanted to make sure I did a little research about Hari Raya and had experienced it a little before I wrote about it.
Singapore (Singapura - island of lions) is a wonderful hodge podge of people and ethnicities and religions.  While a majority of the ethnic population is Chinese (I'm told it's about 77%), when walking in any area you will see people from Malay, European, North American and many other backgrounds.  And that goes for religion as well.  There are Buddhists, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists and Muslims everywhere and a real acceptance of each other here.
Ramadan has just ended and the celebration of that in Singapore is called Hari Raya. While one can say Eid Mubarak here, it's more often that you hear people greet each other with Selamat Hari Raya.  And like Eid Al Fitir in other countries (or Seker Bayram in my beloved Turkey), the celebration is family and food oriented.  Prayers are said (I woke on Sunday to the sounds of prayers being chanted in my neighbourhood and the smell of incense - not sure about the connection of these to the actual celebration as I couldn't see where it was coming from and perhaps it was from a different religious celebration), food is shared and family and friends are visited in homes.  One of the things that I found most interesting was to see Malay Muslim families all dressed in the same colours: silver, purples, browns, reds etc. I learned at the site listed above (link at the words Hari Raya) that this is a way that families show solidarity with one another.  Wonderful! 
I didn't go to any of the special bizarres that are held all over the city (particularly in the eastern areas) but from what I learned from articles and a couple of my new colleagues, they seem similar to those I've seen in Turkey and Oman.  I love these connections. 
I hope all my Muslim friends had a wonderful Eid and that they feel blessed from their month of fasting and connecting to Allah!!!

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