Geylang Serai was filled with festivities and colour last night for the launch of the annual Hari Raya Light-Up.
Hundreds of residents gathered on the field in Engku Aman Road to join in a countdown and cheer as Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong launched the event marking the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer beginning tomorrow.
Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, said this year's festivities aim to deepen the understanding of Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa among Singaporeans and tourists.
She said the design of this year's decorations "incorporated a lot of Islamic architecture and Malay cultural elements".
Dr Fatimah, also the adviser to Marine Parade grassroots organisations, added: "That has sunk in very well with the community, both Malays and non-Malays."
This year's light-up stretches over 1.3km and covers Sims Avenue, and Geylang and Changi roads.
Along the streets are arches featuring traditional Malay motifs and architecture. At Geylang Road, the main Grand Entourage arch features multi-tiered pyramidal roofs - tajung in Javanese - which were popular in the Malay houses of 1870s Singapore.
Residents also enjoyed song and dance performances last night. Mr Sahid Sukintal, chairman of the Geylang Serai Malay Activities Executive Committee, sang the classic Mandarin song, Who Do You Love?, to cheers and applause from the audience.
Madam Norzaikha Ali, 35, who lives at Haig Road, regularly attends the event and said this year's celebrations were an improvement.
"Last year was very dull," said the housewife, who was there with her two children. "This year, it is brighter, more colourful, and I feel happy and excited when I see it. There are Chinese and Indian residents here as well, which is good. I hope they will get to know more about the Malay residents here too."
The light-up will end on July 31, after Hari Raya Puasa on July 28, which marks the end of Ramadan.