Find out what Hari Raya Haji is all about and where to have fun on the public holiday!
Selemat Hari Raya Haji! The public holiday is just around the corner (31 July, folks), 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 public holiday.
Celebrating Hari Raya Haji in Singapore
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. Typically, mosques around Singapore take part in the ritual where sheep or goats will be sacrificed during Korban. Vegetarians should probably look away.
Social visits and family meals are also part of the celebrations, but this is likely to change since Phase 2 rules currently stipulate that gatherings are limited to five people. Normally, 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, though! Traditional foods such as ketupat, rendang, biryani and roasted chicken are part of the delicious menu during this special celebration. Mmm!
Take the kids on a fun history lesson of Malay culture
Head over to the Istana Kampong Gelam (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 to Sunday, from 10am-6pm
Where: Malay Heritage Centre, 85 Sultan Gate Singapore 198501
Cost: Free for Singapore citizens and PRs. From $5 for everyone else.
Visit Singapore’s most famous Mosque
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. 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. Unfortunately, this is currently suspended because of Phase 2 restrictions, so you’ll have to plan a tour once things are back to normal! Oh, and don’t forget to check out the local ‘hood too: Haji Lane and Arab Street make a great hang out with kids.
The mosque is currently closed to visitors except for prayers, but you can still enjoy its gorgeous architecture outside!
When: Saturday to Thursday, 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm and Friday, 2.30pm-4pm
Where: 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833
Spend the day at the museums
Once you’re done visiting the Malay Heritage Centre and walking around Kampong Glam, take the time out to head to a museum! We find that a public holiday is the best time to visit , and there are tons of kid-friendly museums in town.
Our favourite to visit with the kids? The National Gallery has awesome exhibits for kids. And since National Day is next weekend, you can even get free admission till 31 August. Hurrah!
Where: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road
Cost: Free till 31 August