Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where Muslims observe fasting from sunrise to sunset. Ask your Muslim friends or colleagues and they will likely tell you it’s a beautiful yet hectic period of preparing for Hari Raya. From making plans to break fast (also known as iftar), and cleaning the house – all amidst other religious duties and practices.
If you’re a Muslim, or if you want to experience the beauty of Ramadan, we’ve compiled 7 things to do during this blessed month.
1) Help out with spring cleaning
We all want our homes to be mistaken for a showroom, but want none of the work that comes with it. Alas, there’s a high chance that you will already be forced to do this by default once Ramadan rolls around, but for good reason: it’s a team effort!
With so much to be done, from scrubbing the floors to wiping down ceilings, every pair of hands count. Make it a fun occasion for bonding and swapping stories by tackling rooms together so it’ll feel even more satisfying in the end!
2) Shop for “baju raya” (festive clothing)
You might not find slashed prices on fast fashion this season, but keep an eye out for the latest styles and newest inventory of baju raya. With well-known designers working on a spectrum of eclectic and modern pieces to traditional patterns, it’s not hard to find something you’ll fall in love with.
It’s worth taking the time to look around and browse all the beautiful collections available. Many are available both online and in-stores, but we recommend heading down to the brick-and-mortar shop to have a feel of the fabric and fit.
3) Stock Up on Kuih Raya at JB
It’s no secret that prices are cheaper across the border, and this definitely applies to kuih raya as well. Whether you cross Tuas or Woodlands, you don’t have to travel too far to find festive cakes and cookies at close to half the price they sell here.
We recommend walking around Angsana Mall, AEON Shopping Mall, or any of the various Ramadan bazaars scattered around JB.
4) Brave the heat of Geylang Bazaar
Dating back to the 80’s and 90’s, the bazaar at Geylang Serai is a yearly voyage for families, groups of friends, and couples alike. It is traditionally a one-stop centre for Hari Raya goodies, homewares such as carpets and cushions, baju kurung and baju melayu, as well as food and drinks.
If you’ve visited the Geylang Bazaar within the last couple of years, you’ll know that it has topped itself over and over again with its stores. You’ll find both classic Malay goods as well as more “hipster” versions of them, from flaming unicorn drinks to melted raclette. It’s a stimulating experience either way – that is, if you can brave the heat!
5) Iftar, or dine with friends and family
Ramadan is the time to deepen bonds of friendship and kinship and remind ourselves of how blessed we are to be surrounded by our loved ones. Show your love by coming together and doing what everyone on this tiny island adores – eating!
Remember to make early reservations when choosing to dine at your favourite halal restaurants. Things can get busy or fully booked during that period. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, gather some fresh ingredients and whip up your own meals to serve for iftar!
It feels good to do good, and you can do your part this Ramadan by volunteering at a local organisation. Ramadan On Wheels is a good place to start if you want the full Ramadan volunteering experience. Volunteers will be assigned different responsibilities – from shopping, packing the hampers, delivering, to even preparing the hall for a mass Iftar after the whole thing.
7) Try to fast from sunrise to sunset
If you’re not Muslim and you’ve wondered what it was like to go the entire day without eating or drinking, this is the best time to try and see what it’s like! Fun fact: intermittent fasting actually bodes well for your health.
You will also understand what 15% of Singapore’s population goes through this month. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t make it through the day without breaking fast. Your Muslim friends will nonetheless be impressed with your solidarity and determination!
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