Hari Raya Is A Quiet Affair For The 2nd Year, But We Should Count Our Blessings
After getting comfortable socialising in groups of 8, Singapore residents were confident festivities like Hari Raya Aidilfitri will be a livelier affair in 2021.
But things took an unfortunate turn in recent weeks, as infection clusters broke out locally, shattering our fairly clean community case record, and hopes of looser restrictions.
Swab tests were ramped up, and safe management measures (SMMs) tightened — essentially pulling us back into Phase 2.
Many can’t help but point out how timely it is, with Hari Raya just days away.
However, instead of harping on the coincidence, we should stop to consider just how lucky we are in comparison to many others around the world.
Tighter restrictions necessary in light of the rise in cases
The new 5-pax limit may force you to eliminate some friends from Hari Raya plans, America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) style.
And while that could affect the group’s vibes, it’s an inconvenience you’ll laugh about years or even weeks from now.
Because as much as the measures upset us, we can’t deny that the thought of large groups of people gathering amid current circumstances is a rather worrying one.
Should clusters emerge from Hari Raya visits, Singapore will have to contend with yet another wave of infections — and that’s the last thing any of us would want.
Hence, keeping celebrations to our closest friends and family may be the best way forward.
A dampener, but still much better than last year
Sure, you won’t be able to meet your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th cousins now that the extended relatives can’t convene at one place.
But at least you’ll get to visit your grandparents or direct cousins and seek forgiveness for any WhatsApp family feud you’ve caused.
Flashback to the same occasion last year, and that wouldn’t even have been possible.
Besides breaking transmission risks, the ‘Circuit Breaker’ broke many hearts too, as families couldn’t leave home to reunite for the special occasion.
The only way we could ‘meet’ was via video call, and the only echoes of the takbir played through TV or computer screens at home.
Getting to see each other in the flesh is thus a huge improvement — not forgetting Eid prayers at the mosques, albeit in much smaller groups this year.
Compared to 2020, Hari Raya 2021 is, therefore, a marked improvement especially for us Singapore residents.
A livelier Hari Raya here than in many other places
Our neighbours in Malaysia, for instance, can’t say the same, as their government announced a nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) from 12 May to 7 Jun.
Not only are they unable to balik kampung, but they also won’t be able to have more than 3 people in a car.
Over in Jerusalem, Palestinians live in fear of being forced out of their homes and mosques by Israeli settlers, in the ending days of Ramadan.
The situation has escalated to the point that over 30 people have died, with hundreds of others injured.
To know that our loved ones are safe at home, and not too far away for us to visit, is thus such a huge privilege we should be thankful for.
Let’s be thankful & count our blessings
Rather than putting a dampener on celebrations, we should think of the SMMs as safeguards for us to resume life as normal someday.
When the time comes to drive to our relatives’ homes in vans or on lorries again, we’d be thankful we managed to get through the pandemic Hari Rayas unscathed.
Like the Mufti said in a recent video, “To ache and grieve is only human, but to rise and rebuild is only divine.” We’ll emerge stronger after this crisis, but for now, what we need is patience and resilience.
In the meantime, let’s appreciate the more intimate festivities, and keep our loved ones close.
We can continue celebrating Hari Raya on a smaller scale and mark the triumph of getting through an entire month of fasting, as well as months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Featured image adapted from Scribbling Geek on Flickr.
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