Friday, December 30, 2016

The 2016 Hari Raya Light Up & Ramadan Bazaar

Hari Raya is the season for forgiving, visiting relatives and for children to accumulate their "wealth" with their green packets. But before all that, there's the fasting month which also means the presence of the Paya Lebar/Geylang Serai bazaar and the annual Hari Raya Light Up. Missed the chance? No worries, here's what you might have missed.

What is the Hari Raya Light Up?

As Hari Raya fell on early July 2016, a month before that, Muslims in Singapore prepare for the festive month by fasting from dawn till dusk, doing charity work and accumulating as many good deeds as possible. It's also the time where the Paya Lebar and Geylang area will be busy with patrons preparing for the festivities.

The annual bazaar allows patrons to buy food for their breaking of fast while the Hari Raya Light Up welcomes patrons to participate in the vibrant festivities. Other parts of Singapore popular among the Muslim community like Kampung Glam, Tampines and Woodlands have their own versions of a bazaar and light up but the official one is of course right here in Paya Lebar and Geylang Serai.

The Paya Lebar/Geylang Serai Bazaar

Due to ongoing redevelopment works in the Paya Lebar area, the open field next to the MRT station which used to host the bazaar for years has been occupied. However, that doesn't stop the organisers from getting a new place to host the bazaar. The usual bazaar area near the Haig Road food centre was still there but a new site next to the former Kampung Melayu Heritage Centre was used as a replacement.

Though not as buzzing with people compared to the site near the Haig Road Food Centre and the old site, it was still quite a good replacement. There were even some carnival rides open to the public as well.

Quirky and Unique Foods

Other than the usual bazaar foods like Nasi Briyani, Ramly Burger and Dendeng (barbecued slices of chicken or beef), there's a whole list of quirky and unique foods available there as well. They were famous because they were deemed Insta-worthy among youngsters.

There were snacks like a Watermelon Shake served in a watermelon bowl, Churros with various quirky flavours, Dendeng served in a Taco and stalls after stalls selling Thai Iced Teas.

There was even a spicy Korean yogurt and a rainbow-coloured bagel as well. I personally have not tried any of these quirky snacks except for the Taco Dendeng and the Churros. These quirky and unique foods were definitely unique for sure and they give new life to the traditional bazaars. Let us see what's in store for next year's bazaar.

The Usual Bazaar Stuff

What would a Ramadan bazaar be without the famous bazaar atmosphere. You have salesmen shouting through megaphones clearing stocks of carpets, young guys flipping Ramly burger patties and hordes of crowds pushing each other to line up for the $2 Thai Iced Teas. This atmosphere is what makes a Ramadan bazaar, a Ramadan bazaar.

Most patrons come here for the food but many do come here for discounts and bargain-hunting for various items like furniture and Hari Raya clothing. Of course, other stuff like phone cases and snapback hats were available too if you're into that. Definitely an environment like no other.

Hari Raya Light Up

What would a festive celebration be without the annual Hari Raya Light Up. With bigger, better and flashier lights than the previous years, this year's light up never disappoints. Walking along the streets of Changi Road at night with the bazaar atmosphere accompanying you everywhere you go makes it a totally memorable experience.

As a bonus, if you climb up the bridge that links Joo Chiat Complex and the Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, you can observe the beauty of the bright lights glistening over the streets. Very beautiful indeed.


Overall, the annual Hari Raya Light Up 2016 and the accompanying Ramadan Bazaar never disappoints. Though there were redevelopment works all over the Paya Lebar area, that doesn't stop the organisers from organising an exciting festive treat. Though Hari Raya may be long over, it won't be that long before the next one comes in in 2017.

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