The Muslim holy month is upon us once again. Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan – a period of deep spiritual reflection and fasting that takes place every year. During the entire month of Ramadan, which occurs on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, able-bodied Muslims are obligated to abstain from eating any food, drinking any liquids, smoking cigarettes, immoral acts and anger. Doing any of those things invalidates your fast day, and you would have to start over the next day. Muslims also view this time to be one of spiritual discipline, where one is expected to focus more on charity, patience and being grateful for what God has bestowed upon them.

But before you draw conclusions that the entire month of Ramadan and the celebrations that follow are serious and boring, it’s really anything but! It’s a time of celebration and joy meant to be spent with loved ones. Hari Raya is a religious holiday where everyone comes together for big meals with family and friends; loved ones may also greet each other with bountiful and specially crafted Raya hampers and gifts or flower delivery. Do be mindful not to confuse between Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji – they’re different days of celebration! Hari Raya Haji is celebrated at the end of the Hajj (or prigrimage), 70 days after Ramadan. Hari Raya Puasa celebrations typically last up to 30 days, whereas Hari Raya Haji celebrations last up to 4 days. In Singapore, Hari Raya Puasa tends to be celebrated on a bigger scale than Hari Raya Haji. Think the annual Hari Raya Bazaar at Geylang Serai and the Hari Raya Light-Up!

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