Kampung spirit brought to life with light displays of cultural icons and community events
Geylang Serai will be bathed in a sea of colourful lights from 3 May to 16 June 2019 as Hari Raya Light Up 2019 returns with a visual feast of close to 50 light installations.
Continuing the theme of “Celebrating the kampung spirit”, the annual event lines the streets of the Malay enclave with displays inspired by Malay cultural icons and provides many opportunities for community bonding. A reflection of Singapore’s multi-racial society, Hari Raya Light Up 2019 is a platform for Singaporeans of all races to come together to celebrate each other’s culture and traditions. The well-loved Bazaar Raya Geylang Serai also returned with over 500 stalls offering an abundance of traditional and contemporary items.
Norami Aliza Haron, Chairman of the Hari Raya Light Up 2019 Organising Committee said, “Hari Raya is a major festival in Singapore, and the Light Up brings Malays and non-Malays alike to Geylang Serai every year. Beyond visiting the lights and bustling bazaar, we encourage visitors to also learn more about the Malay culture. Furthermore, with Ramadan being a time for family and friends to gather, we hope to foster a shared sense of affinity and belonging through the different community activities happening through the month.”
Ms Serene Tan, Director, Arts and Cultural Precincts, Singapore Tourism Board, said, “The Hari Raya Light Up is an iconic event that showcases the various aspects of Malay culture and tradition, and brings vibrancy to the Geylang Serai precinct. Through the event, we hope locals and overseas visitors will be able to enjoy a rich cultural experience and better appreciate the Malay heritage in Singapore.”
Changi Road, Geylang Road and Sims Avenue embellished with iconic Malay symbols
Stretching 1.8km along Changi Road, Geylang Road and Sims Avenue, close to 50 light installations provide a grand entrance to Geylang Serai and bedazzling photo opportunities for visitors.
The first 15.4m high main arch along Sims Avenue bears a mosque featuring golden domes surrounded by full blooms that symbolise a new beginning and renewed bonds of friendship and kinship. For Muslims, mosques are an important part of their religion. During Ramadan, Muslims congregate in these sacred buildings to perform taraweeh, a special prayer that is only recited during the holy month.
Another equally tall main arch along Changi Road reflects the facade of a kampung house – signifying communal life, and family and friends from different racial and religious groups coming together to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa with love and joy – and gendang, a traditional Malay drum. Hanging above is a universally-recognised symbol of Islam, a crescent moon and star.
As visitors move along the streets, they will be greeted by sub-arches where a crescent moon and star feature as the centerpiece, accompanied by full blooms in batik floral prints and geometric patterns.
The main stage area at Wisma Geylang Serai, which is the main location for weekly cultural programmes, is not to be missed too. A kaleidoscope installation shaped like a star to guide visitors in the darkness of the night will also feature along Onan Road.
Celebrating the kampung spirit with communal iftar sessions and ketupathon
To encourage the gotong royong spirit, organisers of Hari Raya Light Up have also planned for multiple iftar (break fast) sessions, bringing residents and other members of the community together for a meal at sunset.
Additionally, in line with its role as a social and cultural heritage hub, Wisma Geylang Serai will offer a communal space where families and friends can gather for their iftar.
As part of efforts to support members of the community with lesser resources, a ketupathon will be reprised on 2 June 2019, where participants will weave ketupat shells over 12 hours. The ketupat-making session will round off with an auction, proceeds from which will go to charity.
Cultural Heritage Race to acquaint participants with Malay culture
In an effort to continue bringing greater awareness of the tradition and practices of Hari Raya, the Cultural Heritage Race will return on 18 May 2019.
That afternoon, teams of three – that include a non-Malay Singapore-born citizen and a new Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident or Employment Pass holder – will discover nuggets of information about Hari Raya and the Malay community in Singapore, as they race around the Geylang Serai Heritage Trail and other parts of the precinct.
In the spirit of celebration, male and female participants are also encouraged to don baju melayu and baju kurung (traditional male and female Malay attires) respectively.
Bazaar Raya Geylang Serai to delight visitors again
From 3 May to 5 June 2019, Bazaar Raya Geylang Serai will enliven the areas around Engku Aman Road, Geylang Road and Tanjong Katong Complex. There will be more than 500 stalls selling an even mix of traditional Malay fare, accessories and household items, along with contemporary snacks and lifestyle items. Additionally, container-style shops with various themes and an outdoor dining area with hanging lights will add a modern touch to the crowd-pleasing market.
For more information about Hari Raya Light Up and its programme listing, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/HariRayaLightUpSingapore/