Make Hari Raya Aidilfitri meaningful despite muted celebrations during Covid-19 crisis, say Singapore leaders

Families are strengthening their bonds virtually while keeping one another safe, which makes this year's celebrations an even more meaningful one, said key office-holders.
Families are strengthening their bonds virtually while keeping one another safe, which makes this year's celebrations an even more meaningful one, said key office-holders.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - This year's Hari Raya Aidilfitri may be a muted one as families are not allowed to pray in mosques or gather to mark the end of Ramadan together due to circuit breaker measures.

But families are strengthening their bonds virtually while keeping one another safe, which makes this year's celebrations an even more meaningful one, said key office-holders as they commended the Muslim community for its resilience.

President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli were among the nation's leaders who extended Hari Raya greetings to the community on Saturday (May 23), the eve of Aidilfitri.

Madam Halimah, acknowledged the tough circumstances the Muslim community will celebrate the festive occasion in, but encouraged families to "make it one that is still full of meaning".

"Strengthen family bonds virtually, stay connected to enjoy festive activities together, yet in the comfort of our own homes. Stay safe, so that we can all look forward to better celebrations ahead," said Madam Halimah, in a television broadcast.

In the same broadcast, Mr Lee echoed her sentiments and also encouraged all to "draw strength from one another during this difficult but festive period".

Mr Masagos said that Ramadan has always been about developing resilience, and the spirit of mercy and compassion.

"Like you, I am sad too, as we are not able to visit our loved ones, especially parents, grandparents, and elderly relatives," said Mr Masagos, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

However, triumph of the human spirit comes with adversity, he added.

More than 200 volunteers have distributed 20,000 meals daily to the needy and front-liners, and mosques and other organisations have uploaded content online to fulfil the spiritual needs of Muslims.

 
 
 
 

Muslim medical professionals and religious teachers have also guided the community in understanding why religious practices must be adapted, he added.

"Indeed, we can find many hikmah (silver linings) in this trial. I hope that the patience, compassion and agility in adapting to new norms that we have cultivated and demonstrated will carry on beyond this Ramadan," said Mr Masagos.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said Singapore's closest neighbours will also be celebrating the end of Ramadan under exceptional circumstances.

He had discussed the impact of Covid-19 with key political holders, including Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Indonesian Vice-President Ma'ruf Amin, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali and Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. They have shared that the Muslim community understands the need for precautionary measures, he said.

"They have also taken these changes in their stride. What is most important is to celebrate the spirit of caring for and supporting one another," said Mr Heng.

Festive programmes aired on Mediacorp's Suria and Channel 5, produced in collaboration with Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), included special performances to uplift the spirit of all Singaporeans.