From shopping for Hari Raya outfits to ordering savoury dishes, Republic Polytechnic student Atiqa Sams and her family were busy getting ready for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, until they heard the news.
Stricter Covid-19 rules that kicked in on May 8 meant that only five people are allowed in social gatherings, and the public has been advised to keep to just two of such gatherings – with households allowed to receive five visitors each day.
Hari Raya Puasa 2021, Singapore Celebrates Its Own Way
For Atiqa and many other Muslims in Singapore, though they were anticipating a much happier Hari Raya than the one during last year’s circuit breaker, they would now revert to celebrate this occasion digitally.
“We had prepared and over-ordered food as we were expecting guests to visit,” the 21-year-old said, “however, when the new measures were placed, things unexpectedly changed and we had to cancel our plans.”
“This year, my family and I had made plans for visiting as my grandmother will be staying over during the last few nights of Ramadan,” Atiqa added. “[She would] also celebrate the first week of Eid in our home since we missed the chance last year.”
Another digital Hari Raya
Image source: Screengrab from YouTube / SalamSG TV
With the new measures, Atiqa and her family are planning another virtual Hari Raya to reconnect with family and friends, even if it isn’t as meaningful as meeting them in person.
“Like the previous year, we will be video calling our relatives using Zoom since that is the only way to gather the family,” she said.
Atiqa added: “This year, to make it more fun and memorable, I will be collating videos of each family and compiling it into a video collage since we are unable to take group photos.”
Besides video calls with family, one thing that won’t change will be the gifting of duit raya (green packets), which is a tradition for Muslims to hand out to the young during visiting.
With visiting now limited, many like legal secretary Maisarah Noordin, are finding alternative ways to keep this tradition alive albeit virtually.
“Similar to last year, we would most probably be using PayNow to transfer the duit raya since we will hardly be receiving any visitors,” Maisarah, 45, said. “Fortunately, we did not face any technical challenges as it was easy and straightforward.”
She added: “For the kids who were looking forward to receiving the duit raya, they are quite disappointed since they will be receiving less [from fewer visits].”
Communal prayers online
Image source: iStock
Family ‘visits’ and green packets are not the only things returning online, virtual sermons are too. For ITE student Adlina Rahim, she remembers watching the takbir raya, or communal prayer calls, live stream during the circuit breaker last year.
The 21-year-old said: “It was such a good opportunity as I usually go to the mosque to pray with my family every [Hari] Raya, so it was the closest thing we had to physically being there.”
On Friday, Muis announced that SalamSG TV will broadcast the takbir raya this Wednesday – led by Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, Singapore’s highest Islamic authority.
She added: “I would be more than happy to watch the live stream with my family again if the opportunity comes.”
Congregational and other worship services are affected with pre-event testing to be conducted if there are more than 100 attendees, capped at 250.
For the special Hari Raya Aidilfitri prayers, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) announced on May 7 that mosques will conduct three sessions with 100 congregants each, split into two zones of 50 people.
This is the second year that Hari Raya Aidilfitri is celebrated with safe management measures in light of the ongoing pandemic.
This article was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
Lead image source from Atiqa Sams.
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