More to see and do at Hari Raya light-up

Members of the Hari Raya light-up committee include (from left) Mr Tan, Mr Eric Wong, chairman of Geylang Serai Citizens' Consultative Committee, Dr Teo Cheng Swee, chairman of Kembangan-Chai Chee CCC, and Dr Fatimah.
Members of the Hari Raya light-up committee include (from left) Mr Tan, Mr Eric Wong, chairman of Geylang Serai Citizens' Consultative Committee, Dr Teo Cheng Swee, chairman of Kembangan-Chai Chee CCC, and Dr Fatimah.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

A series of interactive exhibits will offer a deeper understanding of different traditions

This year's Hari Raya light-up promises to be bigger and more spectacular than usual - and will carry a deeper meaning.

From June 4, a 2.8km stretch of Geylang Serai from Still Road to Lorong 101 Changi Road will fill with lights and festivities to appeal to Muslims and non-Muslims ahead of Hari Raya Puasa on July 6.

The event will be themed "deepening our kampung spirit" and organisers aim to "reinforce, strengthen and resurrect that feeling".

A common motif will be that of the weave, a pattern with strong significance to the Malay community and which symbolises the concept of unity and close-knit ties.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, a member of the light-up committee, said: "It's not just about shopping and eating (but) how you bring people together."

An addition to the festivities will be a series of interactive exhibits, including a giant set of drums and a gong. There will also be a pavilion which takes inspiration from long kampung houses that served as meeting points for families and friends.

Organisers hope the pavilion, which will be decorated with lampu colok, or celebratory lights, will serve as a place where visitors can sit and interact.

Mr Tan, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, hopes the exhibits will provide a good opportunity for visitors to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of different cultural and religious traditions.

The occasion is also an opportunity for visitors to understand the "true meaning of Islam".Fellow Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef, who is also on the light-up committee, explained that this includes elements like friendship, honesty and close-knit families.

In line with this, this year's displays will carry not only traditional greetings such as "Eid Mubarak" and "Salam Aidilfitri", but also a new one "Berbudi Bahasa", a phrase reminding people to be mindful of their manners when interacting with one another.

Visitors can look forward to a wide variety of activities, including a performance by singer Sufie Rashid, silat and kompang (drum) performances, sarong tying, calligraphy, and a ride on the Hippo Bus.

Mr Rahman Shah Ismail, a 23-year-old student who visits the light-up every year with his family, is pleased with this year's plans.

"It's good to let others know what Islam really is about, given the situation around the world," he said.

Meanwhile, mosques around Singapore will encourage worshippers to be more health- and environment-conscious during this year's Touch of Ramadan campaign. During the month, many Muslims eat their sundown meal at a mosque before evening prayers.

The An-Nahdhah Mosque in Bishan will offer meals with less oil and salt as well as a platter of fruit and vegetables at break- fast every night. The mosque will conduct a series of talks on healthy living from a religious perspective. Other mosques, such as Al-Islah in Punggol and Al-Ansar in Bedok are also planning to offer healthier options.

The Mujahidin Mosque in Queenstown will lead a Green Ramadan campaign which aims to get mosques to save water during ablution. Mosques will also be encouraged to use biodegradable utensils.

•Additional reporting by Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'More to see and do at Hari Raya light-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe