Geylang Serai came alive in a dazzling display of lights and colour as the annual Hari Raya light-up was launched last night.
Despite a drizzle, about 1,000 people gathered on the field in Engku Aman Road to join in the festivities as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the event, marking the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer, tomorrow.
This year, the 2.8km stretch of lights and decorations features traditional and modern batik designs, and weave patterns of Malay crafts. Themed "Deepening our kampung spirit", the light-up includes a kampung-style pavilion.
Concert hall officer Mohamed Zailani Muhamed Said, 54, was at the light-up with four generations of his family: from his mother, 84, to his 10- month-old grandnephew.
"Although we now live in an advanced society, it is important to keep gotong royong (the kampung spirit) alive," he said, adding that he invites neighbours, friends and colleagues of all ethnic groups to his house for Hari Raya.
Marine Parade GRC Member of Parliament Fatimah Lateef said the light-up reflects Singapore's multicultural nature, and is a good chance for more to "understand why we fast and what Hari Raya is all about". It is supported by all communities, including by Chinese temples and and Indian groups, she added.
PM Lee recited a traditional Malay poem, or pantun, about the kampung spirit.
He said he last officiated at the light-up in 2004, but had been there to "jalan jalan" (Malay for walk about) two years ago, and was glad to be back.
Encouraging Singaporeans and tourists to enjoy the light-up, he said: "It is the way we grow in Singapore, it is the way we celebrate our multicultural heritage and richness in Singapore, the way we come together and enjoy each other's important days and come together more closely as one Singapore."
He added: "To all of you Malays, Muslims and non-Muslims, I wish you a happy Ramadan and a happy Hari Raya."