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As Ramadan comes to a close, find out what Hari Raya Aidilfitri is all about and why it is celebrated around the world

Ramadan, a month-long time of fasting for Muslims, will soon come to an end and those who celebrate will start gearing up for Hari Raya Puasa celebrations on May 3 this year.

With the recent loosening of Singapore’s Covid-19 restrictions, Hari Raya Puasa—also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri—is set to be an eventful one with larger family gatherings, meals, prayers at the mosque and more. 

Scroll on to find out more about the occasion and how or why it is celebrated everywhere around the world.

Don’t miss: Ramadan 2022: Everything to Know About the Fasting Month in Singapore

1. What is Hari Raya Puasa all about?

Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting that is undertaken by able-bodied Muslims who are not pregnant, menstruating, sick or elderly. During Ramadan, which is considered the holiest month of the year, Muslims will fast from dawn to dusk daily.

This is a requirement in the Islam religion as it is an act of devotion and dedication to God. 

The act of fasting is meant to teach individuals how to discipline their body and mind and to restrain themselves from earthly pleasures. It is also meant to create empathy for people who are less fortunate. 

Hari Raya Puasa is also a time of forgiveness and families will typically gather together to remember loved ones who have passed on and to apologise for any wrongdoings that may have happened in the past year. 

2. When is Hari Raya Puasa?

Hari Raya Puasa, which is also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid al-Fitr, will traditionally fall on the first day of Shawal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.

The exact day varies each year and depends on the lunar calendar. This year, the celebration will fall on May 3.

3. How do Muslims celebrate the occasion?

On Hari Raya Puasa, Muslims will typically begin their day by visiting a mosque to pray. While Covid-19 restrictions have been loosened, you will still need to book a slot before heading down to a mosque this year.

According to The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), the booking window for Hari Raya prayer slots will open on April 28 at 10 am. You can book for prayers on April 29, Hari Raya and Isyak. For prayers on May 3, there will be a total of 153,250 spaces across 66 mosques.

Each mosque will be offering at least two sessions of Hari Raya prayers, with the first happening between 7.30 am and 8.15 am and the second from 8.45 am to 9.30 am.

There are 15 mosques in Singapore that will likely hold a third session between 10 am and 10.45 am that will also accept walk-ins. The list of mosques holding three sessions can be found here.

Those celebrating will then head out to visit friends and relatives and enjoy good food and company. They will typically visit the elders in the family to ask for forgiveness and to spend time with them first. 

4. Why are green packets given out?

During the celebration, relatives and family will typically give out green packets, particularly to younger members of the family as well as to the elders. The green packets are also known as sampul duit raya and they typically contain money. 

Traditionally, sweets and coins were distributed during Hari Raya Puasa and green packets are more of a modern development, according to Roots, which is run by the National Heritage Board.

5. How should I respectfully wish my Muslim friends and family?

On this day, Muslims typically greet each other by saying “Eid Mubarak”, which means “Have a blessed holiday”, and “Selamat Hari Raya, maaf zahir dan batin”, which means “Happy Hari Raya; I seek forgiveness for any physical and emotional wrongdoings.” This is because the day is about forgiveness.

If you are not confident in speaking Malay though, don’t worry because saying “Eid Mubarak” or “Selamat Hari Raya” is quite common and will certainly be appreciated.

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