Singapore

Hari Raya celebrations muted for second year amid safety measures

Mufti urges community to remain vigilant and also take precautions to protect others

Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations remained a muted affair for the second year in a row, with limits on social gatherings and the number of participants in congregation prayers at mosques.

But Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir yesterday morning urged the community to remain vigilant and "take the necessary precautions to protect our elders, relatives and the community".

"Let us strive to not have any infections in this festive season and beyond," he said at Yusof Ishak Mosque in Woodlands.

FORBIDDEN

Last year's Hari Raya Aidilfitri fell on May 24 - during the circuit breaker, when social visiting was forbidden by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

However, people were still allowed to visit elderly relatives to help them with their daily needs.

All 70 mosques across the island were also closed then.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

It is an occasion to celebrate spiritual victory, an opportunity for families to reunite and a time for feasting.

But it has been dampened by stricter measures that kicked in last Saturday, in response to a spike in community cases.

Until May 30, people can gather in groups of up to five, down from eight previously.

These restrictions also apply to households, which can receive only five distinct visitors a day; and people have been advised to limit social gatherings - including household visits - to two a day.

The number of worshippers allowed at mosques for each congregational prayer session has also been reduced to 100 people, from 250 previously.

The 100 people must be in two zones, with 50 people in each.

The restrictions also applied to each of the three Aidilfitri prayer sessions held in most mosques yesterday morning.

Muslims whom The Straits Times spoke to said they have arranged with friends and family members to visit on different days, or have planned to cut down on visiting.

Mr Sofian Abdullah, 43, said he was expecting only his parents to visit his family.

"In view of the current situation... it is good for everyone to minimise visiting," the civil servant said.

Mr Muhd Zaid, 38, said his family would visit his parents on the first day, and his in-laws over the weekend.

The operations manager, who has three sons, has not confirmed any plans to visit other relatives.

"Compared with last year, which was worse because we could not go out... we are thankful," he said.

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