Ramadan amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Asia

Bazaars and group gatherings are back in Asia during Ramadan this year as Covid-19 curbs eased across the region. Here's a look at how Muslims in various Asian countries are marking the holy month.

Thousands throng Ramadan bazaars in Malaysia, raising crowd control worries

Business is booming at Malaysia's Ramadan bazaars as vendors report a spike in sales with thousands thronging the stalls after two years of strict Covid-19 restrictions crimped visitors and profits.

Barely three hours after setting up his booth at a bazaar in Selangor state last Sunday (April 10), Mr Imran Hakim said he had sold out 500 briyani sets and was calling it a day.

"I went home early that day. I have been gradually increasing the quantity of my food due to the overwhelming response," the 56-year-old told The Sunday Times.

"I'm very surprised at this year's turnout, it really feels as though we're back to the pre-pandemic phase... but with face masks," he said.


In Indonesia, stallholders, customers cheer return of tradition during Ramadan

For the first time in two years, Indonesian businessman Pranyoto Widodo and his wife are again scouring bazaars for snacks and desserts known as "takjil" to serve when breaking fast with the family.

Every Ramadan before the pandemic, they used to buy their favourite food at various spots across the Indonesian capital, including Bendungan Hilir in Central Jakarta, Rawamangun in East Jakarta and Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta.

"During the pandemic, I did not come here because there were no bazaars," the father of two told The Sunday Times at a Ramadan bazaar in Bendungan Hilir on Wednesday (April 6). "The bazaar is now much better. It's neat and clean. All vendors wear masks."


Indonesia gears up for record exodus ahead of Hari Raya

Indonesia is gearing up for its largest ever movement of people with more than 85 million people returning home to towns and villages across the sprawling archipelago ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri early next month.

Extra measures are being put in place to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Most of those involved in the annual exodus - better known as mudik - live in Greater Jakarta and other major cities and they will start heading home by air, land and sea from the fourth week of this month, according to government surveys.


Festive Ramadan buzz brings joy in India, but cost concerns linger

A boy called out to passers-by, coaxing them to sample cuts of sheermal, a sweetened flatbread topped with nuts, which he waved around enticingly on an orange plastic plate.

"Aaiyee bhai, aaiyee (Come brother, come)," he hollered.

On Wednesday (April 6), the Matia Mahal market lane, which is adjacent to the historic Jama Masjid in Delhi, was abuzz with activity after iftar - the evening meal that ends the daily Ramadan fast for Muslims.


Festive cheer as Ramadan bazaars - and crowds - are back in Singapore after two years

When Ms Layla Rahman, 27, had pregnancy cravings for dendeng, (grilled beef slices) in her second trimester two years ago, her husband panicked as he knew the bazaars that usually sold them during the Ramadan fasting month were closed due to Covid-19 curbs.

After searching for hours on the Internet and asking friends, he eventually found a small joint in an MRT station that sold the delicacy.

The duo sorely missed the bazaars, where one could easily find popular dishes and snacks during the fasting month.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.