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How We Celebrated Hari Raya Puasa In Singapore This Year – By Expat Andrea McKenna

By Finder blogger: Andrea McKenna

I’ve been in Singapore nearly 6 years and this is the first year I’d actually seen the crescent moon in relation to the end of Ramadan, the holy fasting month for Muslims around the world.

I was driving home from a sound bath meditation with my daughter. We were just about the turn off of Mountbatten Road when I spotted the fingernail-shaped moon hanging low on the horizon over the Goodman Road area of Marine Parade.

Apparently, much of the rest of the Muslim world celebrated Eid-al-Fitr 2017 on Sunday June 25. But in Southeast Asia, which has two of the most populous Muslim countries (Indonesia and Malaysia) the crescent moon was not visible until Monday June 26.

I have always watched this past holiday month with some wonderment, as I was not exposed to the Muslim religion growing up in New England (USA). In the ninth moth of the year, Muslims fast from sunrise til sunset. It’s quite an accomplishment and I am always amazed at my Facebook friends who adhere to this.

Here in Singapore, where 15% of the population is Muslim, I have been able to see more of this culture, make some Muslim friends (who all do yoga actually!) and at least today, see the celestial signs marking the end of the season.

The yoga studio I work at used to be located on Arab Street in Kampong Glam, the Malay neighborhood which features the huge Sultan Mosque. So, for years, every Friday we could hear the Friday prayers taking place on the loud speaker from our third-floor shop house.

Now, the studio has moved to the Geylang Serai area, also Muslim, and I’ve been exposed to more culture, including the market that sells clothes, goods and food during Ramadan. I’ve also learned that the restaurants in the One KM mall are all halal, which means no beer with my pizza.

I’ve had some experience at the market, as last year, I bought my daughter and I matching Malay outfits for a Hari Raya celebration her preschool. I bought some cookies there as well to bring in for treats.

On Facebook this weekend, I saw many pictures of Singapore friends who celebrated the end of Ramadan with beautiful coordinated clothing in family photographs. I’ve been following a few who had custom clothes and headcovers made in this year’s family colours. Here’s a cool article on style and celebrating Eid: https://qz.com/724054/photos-a-world-of-muslim-style-for-celebrating-eid-in-the-united-states/

One thing I can say about living in Singapore is that the longer you stay here the more shots you get at learning about the different cultures that make up this city. This year, I was able to connect a little bit more about the Muslim world. Luckily, with all of Singapore’s different public holidays there are still a lot of other choices left.

About Andrea McKenna

image: E. Chiau

Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.

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