Ramadan Together

Celebrating a month of community
Ramadan Together

Watch

Learn what Ramadan means to the local Muslim community during this period, and find out how you can be a part of our Ramadan Together experience

Play

What is Ramadan?

The Muslim month of fasting and devotion

Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar and the holiest month of the year. Muslims all around the world fast (referred to as puasa in Malay) from sunrise to sunset every day throughout the month. It is also believed that the first chapters of the Quran, the Islamic holy text, were revealed to Prophet Muhammad during this month.

Large Qur’an

Large Qur’an

1237Ah or 1821/2 CE, Indonesia

Collection of Asian Civilisations Museum

While most Qur’ans from Southeast Asia are relatively plain, this particular mushaf (single volume Qur’an) has been elaborately illuminated. Instead of having just one double page of illuminations at the front - the norm for most Qur’ans - this mushaf has three in total: at the beginning, in the middle and at the end. All three double pages have been painted with varying designs. The double pages displayed here are from the middle of the Qur’an. Reading is sometimes aided with a pointer, in this case, one carved from bamboo. This Qur’an contains an inscription which states that Haji Muhammad Salih bin War‘iy started copying it out in early Ramadan (9th Islamic month) year 1237, and completed it in the month of Ramadan year 1238 (which corresponds with May 1822 to May 1823).

A Lot More than Fasting

Why fast?

To our Muslim brothers and sisters, fasting is much more than abstaining from food and drinks. It’s a deeply spiritual practice for them to strengthen their self control and inculcate greater compassion for others. It is believed that one could only truly empathise with the poor and needy by experiencing hunger and thirst themselves. This is also a special time for Muslims to meditate, self- reflect, and focus on spiritual growth.

Who fasts?

All Muslims are required to fast during this month. There are, of course, exceptions to this. Children who haven’t reached the age of puberty, expectant mothers, and mothers who are breastfeeding are not required to fast. The elderly and the sick are also exempted. Women are exempted from fasting during their periods, and they can make up for these days another time.

Breakfast and break fast - Sahur and Iftar

During Ramadan, Muslims have their breakfasts before sunrise (sahur) and break fast after sunset (iftar). Every evening of the month, mosques around Singapore distribute bubur lambuk (rice porridge), while the streets of Geylang Serai and Jalan Bussorah (behind Masjid Sultan) light up with little stalls selling a wide variety of Malay culinary delights, gifts, and clothes.

Ramadan Together
Photo courtesy of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

Ramadan Together

Extra prayers, extra love

In addition to their daily prayers, Muslims are encouraged to take part in an extra session of night prayers known as Terawih. In Singapore, Muslims can take part in the Terawih prayer at home or join the congregation at the mosques, communal halls, or void decks of their HDB flats.

Ramadan Together
Photo courtesy of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

Giving to the less fortunate is an important part of Ramadan. All Muslims are also required to offer zakat fitrah, a donation to the poor and needy in their community. During the 2020 Coronavirus crisis, the local Muslim community has come together to express their gratitude to healthcare workers, and extend a helping hand to needy households, by donating 15,000 meals to them this month.

Ramadan Together - Buka Puasa Portal
Visit: www.bukapuasa.sg

Ramadan Volunteer
Photo courtesy of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

 

Hari Raya Puasa - the big celebration

When the fasting month ends

To mark the end of the fasting month, Muslims come together to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri. As families gather, the younger generation would take turns to kiss the hand of their elders as a sign of respect, while asking them for forgiveness. This is also the day Muslims put on new clothes and decorate their homes with colourful lights. Here in Singapore, we have our own unique way of welcoming this special occasion.

Ramadan Together

Not missing out on flavours

Most locals and tourists would have tried the famous beef rendang (spicy beef stew), ketupat (rice cakes wrapped in coconut leaves), and lontong (coconut gravy rice cakes). While these are the main highlights of every Hari Raya feast, the celebration isn’t complete without the delicious kuih (sweets) and biscuits. Kuih tart (pineapple tarts) and kuih bangkit (tapioca cookies) are must-haves for most families. Local bakeries are also giving popular snacks a different twist by infusing flavours such as durian, white chocolate, and even parmesan cheese.

Green packets and colour-coded outfits

During Hari Raya Aidilfitri, it is common for adults to give the young gifts and sweets. In Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries, we’ve given this tradition our own local flavour.

Here, working adults often distribute duit raya (gifts of money) in green packets to children as a gesture of goodwill, and at times to the elderly as a form of respect.

Green Packet

It is also common to see families wearing similar-coloured baju kurung, their traditional outfit, as a display of togetherness when they visit their relatives.

Hari Raya

 

Hari Raya Card

Hari Raya Aidilfitri card featuring Cathay-Keris film actress, Mariam

1960s, Singapore and Malaysia

Collection of National Museum of Singapore

Mariam was born in Singapore in 1935. She was a successful actress who starred in such films as ‘Aloha’ (1950), ‘Aladdin’ (1952) and ‘Abu Hasan Penchuri’ (1955). Her sister is Malay film actress, Saadiah. She is also the mother of Malay film actor Bat Latiff and famous Malay singer Rahimah Rahim..

Ramadan Together - Kuih

Wooden 'putu kacang' biscuit mould

1940s, Singapore

Collection of National Museum of Singapore

‘Putu kacang’ (Malay festive biscuits made of nuts) is baked during festive occasions like Hari Raya Puasa. Considered the ‘king’ of ‘kueh baulu’ (tea snacks), the baking of this biscuit is a dying craft. This mould is carved with geometric floral and fauna designs.

Ramadan Together

Kampong Glam

1950s, Singapore

Collection of National Museum of Singapore

Located east of the Singapore River, ‘Kampong’ (village) 'Glam' (the Glam tree) was set aside by Sir Stamford Raffles for the Sultan of Singapore as well as the Arab, Bugis and Malay communities under the Raffles Town Plan of 1822. It was gazetted as a conservation area in July 1989. The Sultan Mosque can be seen in the background of this photograph.

Debunking the myths

Ramadan and the religious act of fasting sometimes comes with its own set of misunderstandings. What are some of these misconceptions you had, or heard? Let us shed light on some of the more common ones.

Myth: Every Muslim has to fast during Ramadan

Fact: Only able-bodied adults have to fast. Children who haven’t reached the age of puberty, the elderly, those who are sick, expectant mothers, mothers nursing their children, as well as women on their periods, are exempted.

Myth: Muslims do not eat and drink for a straight 30 days during Ramadan

Fact: Muslims only fast between sunrise and sunset. They have a meal before dawn and break their fast in the evenings.

Take a look below for more debunked myths!

Debunking the Myths
 
Debunking the Myths
 
Debunking the Myths
 
Debunking the Myths
 
Debunking the Myths
 
Debunking the Myths
 

Let's Ramadan Together

Due to circuit breaker measures, this past Ramadan was unlike any other – but that didn’t make it any less special. From all across Singapore, Muslims and non-Muslims joined us as we celebrated #RamadanTogether through a series of LIVE events, filled with laughter, food and lots of cheer.

 

Iftar Together

Enjoying iftar – or breaking fast – together has always been a highlight for many Muslims in Singapore during Ramadan. While we may not have been able to share a meal together this year, that didn’t stop us all from sharing a good time!

Iftar Together brought over 1000 Singaporeans together as we exchanged Ramadan stories, tips and interesting fun facts. We even capped things off with our first-ever virtual iftar session, and of course – we had to take a giant group photo to remember this very special iftar.

Check out how Iftar Together went down in the video below!

Masak Together

There’s nothing like some delicious traditional bites to get us in the festive mood. To help make this Ramadan even more special, Chef Sarah Ariffin dished out some of her favourite Ramadan and Hari Raya recipes for everyone to enjoy at our LIVE cooking show ‘Masak Together’.

While Chef Sarah is well-known for her delicious creations, the stars of the show were definitely her irresistible Roti Jala with Chicken Curry, and her one-of-a-kind Cornflakes Meringue Cookies.

In case you missed it, you can watch both episodes of Masak Together below. You can also download the recipe cards and try making these yummy dishes yourself!

 

Chef Sarah's Recipes

Roti Jala Masak Together

Roti Jala Masak Together

Meringue Cookies Masak Together

 

Concert Together

Hari Raya Puasa, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, is a joyous occasion where Muslims come together to mark the end of Ramadan. The festivities usually involve lots of food, laughter and not to forget – music.

To wrap up our series of Ramadan events, we hosted a Hari Raya celebration unlike any other with ‘Concert Together’, a LIVE performance by some of Singapore’s favourite artistes like Sezairi, Aisyah Aziz and Jatt Ali.

We were treated to soulful renditions of Hari Raya classics and some of their original hits, as we enjoyed an evening of stories, games, and well-wishes together from our homes.