Hari Raya Light-Up to feature large displays for the first time

This year's  Hari Raya Light-Up in Geylang Serai (pictured) will feature large installations based on motifs from traditional Malay culture.
This year's Hari Raya Light-Up in Geylang Serai (pictured) will feature large installations based on motifs from traditional Malay culture. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - A 12m-wide kelong and 4.4m-tall traditional Kelantanese wau kite will be some of the eye-catching sights at the annual Hari Raya Light-Up in Geylang Serai this year.

The 2.25km light-up, which will return to Geylang Serai from May 20 to July 7, will feature large installations based on motifs from traditional Malay culture.

Made of more than 900,000 light bulbs, the display took four months to be designed and produced and includes an exhibition area with a structure built in the shape of a ketupat (rice dumpling), as well as arches decorated with festive greetings.

The light-up, which will run across Sims Avenue and Changi Road, also includes a temporary exhibition on Malay traditions during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the history of Hari Raya bazaars.

A pop-up museum will be held outside the Kampong Ubi Community Club that showcases artefacts such as gongs and weaponry used by Malay nobles, said the Hari Raya Light-Up 2017 organising committee on Monday (May 15), which comprises representatives from the Kembangan-Chai Chee and the Geylang Serai Citizens' Consultative Committees.

Cultural performances, such as Malay dance and traditional kompang troupes, and free public screenings of films by the late Malay director P. Ramlee will be held on weekend nights for the duration of the light-up.

Other highlights of the festival, themed Deepening Our Kampong Spirit, include the Geylang Serai festive bazaar, a Cultural Heritage Race where locals and new citizens team up to race around Geylang Serai and learn about Malay culture, and a mass break fast session involving new Singapore citizens and locals on June 17.

This is the first time new citizens will be involved in the activity.

"It's a uniquely Singaporean narrative, and we want to stick with it and we always want to reinforce and renew and refresh it, every time we have this annually," said Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Fatimah Lateef at a press briefing on Monday, about the recurring theme of the festival in deepening social bonds among Singaporeans.

Speaking at the same event, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, also an MP for Marine Parade GRC, said he hopes more Singaporeans can celebrate the festival with individuals from different backgrounds.

"I think it's just a great chance for the community to get together, not just to shop and eat, but also through the process gain a deeper understanding of what it (Hari Raya) is all about," he said.

The Geylang Serai Bazaar will also return from May 25 to June 24 with more than 1,000 stalls selling goods such as traditional Malay attire, decorative items and snacks like rainbow planet ice-cream buns.

The official launch of the light-up will take place on May 20 at 7.30pm outside the Kembangan-Chai Chee Community Hub.

For more information, members of the public can visit the Hari Raya Light Up 2017 official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HariRayaLightUpSingapore2017/ .