Selamat Hari Raya Haji!
But it’s not to be confused for Hari Raya Puasa, which falls on 5 June this year – they’re different days of celebration. Very different!
“Hari Raya” directly translates to “Great Day” in English. “Haji” means “pilgrim to Mecca”, while “Puasa” means “fasting”.
Hari Raya Puasa is celebrated at the end of the Ramadan fasting month to celebrate, well, the end of the fasting month. Hari Raya Haji is celebrated at the end of the Hajj (pilgrimage) 70 days after the Ramadan – every able-bodied and financially able Muslim is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once in their life.
This year, they fall on 5 June and 10 August respectively.
Both days begin with a morning of sermon and prayer at the mosque.
On Hari Raya Puasa, Muslims then proceed to visit relatives and friends for a day of feasting; on Hari Raya Haji, a “Korban” (sacrifice) is performed, where live sheep, lambs, and other livestock are slaughtered as prayers are recited. This is to commemorate the Islamic prophet Ibrahim who sacrificed his son Ismail as an act of obedience to their God.
Hari Raya Puasa celebrations last up to 30 days, whereas Hari Raya Haji celebrations last up to 4 days.
In Singapore, as far as public celebrations, carnivals, and the like go, Hari Raya Puasa is celebrated on a bigger scale than Hari Raya Haji. Think the Geylang Serai bazaar, Hari Raya light-ups, and more!
By Pinky Chng, August 2017 / Updated by Melodi Ghui, June 2019
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