Hari Raya Puasa versus Hari Raya Haji

With Hari Raya meaning ‘Day of Celebration’, it’s easy to see why non-Malay speakers are often confused between Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji. These two widely-celebrated Muslim holidays in Singapore take place approximately 2 months apart and are celebrated in very different ways. Between the two festivals, the more visually spectacular one is Hari Raya Puasa (also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri), which occurs at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The Ramadan commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, and practitioners spend the month praying, fasting and abstaining from excesses, in order to strengthen their faith, ridding themselves of earthly preoccupations and turning their thoughts towards God. The fasting takes place between dawn and dusk, and practitioners are not allowed to take any form of food or drink during this period.

The Ramadan period will also see a whole host of street fairs and bazaars being conducted as the Muslim population gears up for the Puasa celebrations. As fasting takes place from sunup to sundown, these fairs are especially lively after 7pm. One of the most…