A walk around Geylang Serai during Ramadan

4 09 2011

Singapore is a wonderful place to be in when it comes to the celebration of festivals. From colourful street parades to religious processions and even street light-ups, Singapore has it all. With three main celebrations associated with the three main ethnic groups, plus Christmas thrown in, there is always something to look forward to throughout the year. One recently celebrated festival is the Muslim festival of Hari Raya Puasa, which involves a month of fasting known as Ramadan. It is during that month that the traditional Malay cultural district of Geylang Serai is transformed into a world of light and colour, with a street light-up and bazaars, as crowds throng the streets and markets to buy up on festive goodies, home decorations, and new clothes on offer, as well as to find food for the breaking of fast. It is during Ramadan that the Geylang Serai of old returns to an area which has been remade and is still in the process of redevelopment, as markets and streets are awash with the hues of Hari Raya. All around, it is a rich sensory experience that awaits: the green of young coconut leaves, the green and brown of tempeh wrapped in leaves, the red of chillies, along with the colours of festive goodies, garments and rugs on display that is sure to catch one’s eye. It was in the last days of Ramadan that I chose to wander around and what I saw was very much a new Geylang Serai that is still steeped in the old, and one where, I am glad to know, tradition will always be preserved.

Geylang Serai is very much a place of contrasts, where old tradition and the modern life collide, especially during Ramadan.

Dried seafood on offer, essential ingredients in traditional Malay cuisine, sold by non-Malay vendors.

The streets of Geylang Serai are transformed into a sea of lights during Ramadan.

The crescent moon and star is very much in evidence in the traditional Malay cultural district.

Lighted decorations featuring a traditional dome of a mosque.

The stretch of Geylang Road at Geylang Serai during Ramadan.

Light bulbs hanging from the ceiling of Geylang Serai Market.

Decorative ketupats were also seen in abundance.

Young coconut leaves for the making of the traditional ketupat (rice purses) were seen in abundance.

Tempeh (strips of fermented soya-beans) wrapped in leaf and brown paper.

Chillies on sale.

Queues form early at a popular Nasi Padang stall in Geylang Serai Market as Muslims prepare for the breaking of fast.

Food for the breaking of fast.

A close-up of what's on offer.

Food being packed to take away.

A young lady waits for the breaking of fast with food and drink on the table.

Kain Songket on offer.

A young lady shops for clothes at Geylang Serai Market.

Rugs on offer at a street bazaar.

The colours of clothes on offer at the market.


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One response

4 09 2011
Thimbuktu

Thank you for splendid blog topic which you just posted. Although there are several blogs about Geylang. Specifically Singapore Memory Ambassador T C Lai with real life first person’s experience about his “Growing up in Geylang” blog.

It doesn’t matter that the reminiscenses are about the same familiar roads in Singapore, no more than an unique story is the same. Everyone just share your memories at irememberSG with photos, blogs, diary in any media or any language. It doesn’t matter whether each submission is long or short. Same place. Different times. Different experiences. No stories are the same.

This current blog about Ramandan with photojournal not seen elsewhere by you is much appreciated. Thank you our fellow Singapore Memory Ambassador Jerome.

Thank you for sharing. Well Done!

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