Hari Raya Haji is just around the corner, and with it comes an extra day of fun to have around Singapore with the kiddos. Hurrah! We’ve been taking a look at what this Muslim festival means, where we can join in the celebrations (regardless of our own religion), and what’s on for families during the extended weekend.
Hari Raya Haji for beginners
Hari Raya Haji (which means “great day of the haj” in Malay), also known as Eid al-Adha, is an important Muslim festival where followers reflect on the story of God commanding Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismail. Thankfully no small children came to harm as God intervened by allowing Ibrahim to sacrifice a sheep instead. Today the sacrificial ritual, known as Korban, is an important part of the festival, and represents Prophet Ibrahim’s faith and trust in God. 25 mosques around Singapore will be taking part in the ritual where sheep or goats will be sacrificed during this year’s Korban. Vegetarians should probably look away.
Social visits and family meals are also part of the celebrations, although this particular festival is more about spiritual needs than physical ones, so the huge feasts and merrymaking of Hari Raya Aidilfitri are not usually repeated. The food tables will still be laden: traditional foods such as ketupat, rendang, biryani and roasted chicken are part of the menu during this special celebration.
Doodle your way to victory in a fam-friendly competition
Join a friendly, creative competition with the kids, grab some free chalk from any of the Parkland Green outlets and then get your doodle on! Families decorating the pavements with the most originality and creativity stand to win a Hvper Sport Scooter and Tag Team Voucher. Ready, steady… chalk!
When: 2 September, from 8am
Where: Parkland Green, East Coast Park
Take the kids on a fun history lesson of Malay culture
Head over to the Istana Kampong Gelam, aka the Malay Heritage Centre, the former home of the Sultanate of Singapore, for a cool history lesson. Check out the exhibits showcasing the colourful history and culture of the Malay community here in Singapore, and learn more about the religious festivals that happen throughout the year.
When: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm
Where: Malay Heritage Centre, 85 Sultan Gate Singapore 198501
Cost: Free for Singapore citizens and PRs. From $4 for everyone else.
Catch some of the world’s most famous pups on stage
We’re all for an educational bit of screen time when the need arises (like when you’re trying to clean the house and make sure the baby doesn’t crawl out the front door simultaneously when you have no helper), and Paw Patrol has literally come to the rescue MANY a time. Now the pups are coming to Singapore, where you’ll catch them live on stage in a show packed with musical adventure, high-energy and, of course, the Paw Patrol gang!
When: 1-3 September, 10.30am, 2pm and 5.30pm shows
Where: Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa
Cost: From $58 per person
Visit Singapore’s most famous Mosque
To really get a feel for the Muslim religion and culture, Sultan Mosque – also known as Masjid Sultan – in historic Kampong Glam makes a great place to visit throughout the year with the kids. Built in 1824 for Sultan Hussein Shah, the first sultan of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles originally gave $3,000 for the construction of a single-storey building with a double-tiered roof. Today the mosque is a focal point for the Muslim community, and night markets often spring up in the area complete with food stalls whenever there is an important festival happening. For the full lowdown on this beautiful building, try a guided tour – they come in English, Malay, Chinese or Japanese language choices! Don’t forget to check out the local neighbourhood too: Haji Lane and Arab Street make a great hang out with kids!
When: Open to visitors Saturday-Thursday, 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm and Friday, 2.30pm-4pm
Where: 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833
Cost: Free admission
Hang out with a dinosaur at the Botanic Gardens
Combine an adventure in the great outdoors with a fun storytelling event over at Botanic Gardens at the ‘T.VEG, The Story of the Carrot-Crunching Dinosaur’ session. Expect dinosaurs, wild tales and a guided tour! Suitable for kids aged five to 12 years.
When: 2 September, 10-11am
Where: Singapore Botanic Gardens, Botany Centre, Tanglin Core of the Singapore Botanic Gardens
Introduce the kids to classical music
Performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra with the theatrics (and antics) of acclaimed mime artists from Magic Circle Mime, Peter and the Wolf is a performance not to be missed! Classical music made fun for small ears aged four and up.
When: 2-3 September, various times
Where: Victoria Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place, 179556
Cost: From $30 per person
Be inspired by nature at a parent-child workshop
Nature and art all rolled into one is what’s on offer at the Fun With Birds workshop for little creatives aged five to 12 years. Flock over to the Sungei Buloh Wetland where kids will pick up new arty skills so they can create their own bird-inspired art masterpiece.
When: 2 September, 9.30-11.30am
Where: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Visitor Centre
Cost: Free but registration should be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, number of participants, email address and contact number. Reservation will be confirmed via email.
Sit under the stars and be enchanted by classical ballet
Ballet Under the Stars is returning for its 22nd edition, wowing audiences with breathtaking performances by Singapore Dance Theatre. Perfect for older kids, date night or as an intro to classical ballet for keen wannabe dancers, the long weekend event features ‘Sticks and Stones’ by Kinsun Chan, ‘Age of Innocence’ by Edwaard Liang, and ‘Organ Concerto’ by Nils Christe. Don’t forget to pack a picnic!
Where: Fort Canning Park, 51 Canning Rise, Singapore 179872
When: 1-3 September, from 7.30pm
Cost: $35 per person