SINGAPORE - The Geylang Serai precinct was awash in a sea of colours on Friday night (April 9) as the annual Hari Raya light-up began.
This year's street lightings and decorations will last till May 23. The light-up starts ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, which will last from April 13 to May 12.
The lights will be switched on daily from 7pm to midnight, with the hours extended on May 12 - the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri - till 6am.
Also launched on Friday was Bazaar-Kita.sg, an online bazaar that takes the place of the much-anticipated bazaars that were held yearly before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Forty installations line two stretches that total a distance of 1.4km - 500m in Sims Avenue, starting at Paya Lebar Quarter, and 900m in Changi and Geylang roads, starting at CharisTurf.
Major buildings along the stretch, such as Wisma Geylang Serai, Joo Chiat Complex and Geylang Serai Market, have also been decorated as part of the festivities.
This year's light-up is themed "Celebrating Our Kampung Spirit" and was jointly organised by the Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCC) of Kembangan-Chai Chee, Geylang Serai and Marine Parade.
At the launch event at Wisma Geylang Serai on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said this year's light-up has added meaning in the light of the challenges of the past year.
The light-up is a step forward in the fight against Covid-19, he added, noting that last year's installations were only partially put up, and a decision was made not to switch them on due to concerns about social distancing.
"It was a difficult decision, taken to safeguard the well-being of our people," he said, thanking this year's organising committee for its efforts in ensuring the light-up could go on this year with safe management measures in place.
Also present at the event were Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, Ministers in the Prime Minister's Office Maliki Osman and Tan See Leng, and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.
Highlights of the light-up include two main arches in Sims Avenue and Changi Road.
The arch in Sims Avenue features a mosque with golden domes, surrounded by full blooms that symbolise a new beginning and renewed bonds of friendship and kinship, said the organisers.
The Changi Road arch features a crescent moon and a kompang (handheld drum) with flowers and fruit, which symbolise hope and abundance.
Madam Norami Aliza Haron, chairman of the Hari Raya Light-Up 2021 working committee, said this year's light-up celebrates unity amid the ongoing pandemic.
"It resonates with the community because it shows that we have banded together to overcome Covid-19, and are still continuing to do so as a collective," she said.
Owing to the ongoing pandemic, Wisma Geylang Serai partnered the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry to bring the annual bazaar online via Bazaar-Kita.sg
The online bazaar allows users to shop for various festive goodies, meals and merchandise round-the-clock.
Wisma Geylang Serai has also planned more than 30 online programmes which will run from April 15 to May 30, including singing performances, comedy skits and baking shows that will be streamed on social media platforms.
Towards the end of Ramadan, there will also be special live shows such as the e-buka puasa (breaking of fast) show and a Hari Raya show.
Organisers reminded those celebrating Hari Raya to do so in a safe manner.
Visitors to Geylang Serai are advised not to congregate in large groups and to adhere to all safe management measures. Safe distancing ambassadors and volunteers will be deployed to remind visitors to observe social distancing.
Separately, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), the Urban Redevelopment Authority, business association One Kampong Gelam and Sultan Mosque issued a joint statement on Friday reminding visitors to Kampong Glam to observe safe management measures, adding that more safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers will be deployed in the area during Ramadan.
Those wishing to pray at Sultan Mosque are reminded to book slots through the Muslim.SG app, and bring their own items such as prayer mats and attire.
No communal dining or breaking of fast will take place at mosques across the island due to the pandemic.