How to make this year’s Hari Raya one to remember
Hari Raya Puasa is just around the corner, and one common question these days is how it will look like amid COVID-19. While some traditions will be different in these times - breaking fast together in person as an extended family will not be possible, and dressing up to go visit each other will also need to wait for a later date - there are still ways to make it a meaningful celebration.
Safe distancing does not mean spiritual and emotional distancing, too. We have some tips on hand to help you and your family make this Hari Raya one to remember for years to come.
1. Leveraging technology to break fast together
Buka puasa, or the act of gathering together to break fast, creates a sense of unity and strengthening of family ties during the month of Ramadan. Extended families also invite each other over to break fast, as we gather to remember our blessings and evoke the spirit of giving.
Thankfully for us, through the use of technology, we are still able to see each other during this time.
Using video-conferencing tools like Zoom, FaceTime and the newly-launched Google Meet, families can easily link up with relatives from all across the island (and even across the world!) - making gatherings even bigger than one would have at their own homes. Look out for Facebook’s Messenger Rooms too, set to be launched soon.
Don’t forget to set some ground rules like muting your microphone to facilitate easy conversation, and helping the older family members with their devices. This could be the day your nenek finally embraces technology!
2. Sharing recipes on Instagram
One of the best things about modern life is social media – something we all find ourselves especially thankful for during these months. With circuit breaker still in place, it also is a great platform to share your recipes with one another. While every family swears by their own secret recipes, you can take inspiration from Instagram pages such as @Ovenhaven and @muslim_chef to make things interesting.
3. Break fast together!
While cooking is definitely something we have more time for at home, not everyone wants to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. In that case, why not cater meals for the whole family? Popular nasi padang restaurant Hjh Maimunah is offering delivery from S$5 with a minimum spend of S$30, while Pu3 - known for its nasi ambeng - is offering S$5 delivery.
With the food all set, set a time to gather in front of your laptops or phones, give thanks for the food before you, the privilege to gather virtually, and enjoy a meal and great conversation. We know it’s not the same as mum’s rendang or dad’s ayam masak merah, but absence does make the heart grow fonder.
4. Access Religious Content Online
During this period, MUIS has released content online to help Muslims. You can also access the MUIS Online Prayer Guide here, featuring a guide as to how Muslims can perform terawih prayers at home as well as addressing various religious queries that have been put forth by members of the public.
Various mosques in Singapore are also conducting religious classes via video-conferencing app Zoom, Quranic podcasts and showing live religious talks on Facebook.
5. Fulfill your Zakat Fitrah obligations online
In fact, Muis is encouraging everyone to make their zakat payments online! This enables you to fulfil your religious duties easily and safely during the circuit breaker period. Social distancing, while physical, need not be spiritual and emotional distancing as well.
6. Give virtual green packets
As technology rapidly advances and giving traditions evolve, duit raya traditions are also moving online. From 2017 to 2018 alone, the number of e-gifting during festive seasons grew by six times in Singapore.
Even if you’re not visiting your loved ones in person, you can still gift duit raya to them. With DBS eGift, you can easily preserve the tradition of exchanging green packets and well wishes digitally.
All you need is PayLah!. To send an eGift to a loved one, tap on the “Pay” button and choose the “Send as eGift” function after entering your desired amount, and of course, a message. Also, remember to check that you are sending your eGift to the official mobile number used by your intended recipient to register for PayLah! or PayNow.
As the adage goes, it’s more blessed to give than to receive. From 24th May to 20th Jun 2020, everyone who successfully sends or receives an eGift will be eligible to take part in the DBS PayLah! eGift contest. The top 200 users with the highest number of qualifying transactions at the end of each week will each receive a prize of S$18. Find out more on how you can take part here.
Although the way in which we practise traditions evolve, the importance of kinship and friendship remains the same. Large gatherings and visitations will not be possible on the first day of the celebration this year, but the essence of Hari Raya will always be forgiveness and building bonds among relatives and loved ones, which we can still show and feel in other ways. Embracing these new methods to do so this time around could all make for an extra memorable Hari Raya for years to come.