PayNow green packets, virtual visitations: Singaporean couple shares how they're celebrating Hari Raya differently this year

When Nur Iviana Tham got married to Hazre Salim seven years ago, Ramadan and Hari Raya took on a different meaning for the pre-school teacher, who's Chinese and converted to the Islamic faith before their wedding in 2013.

This year, however, the holy month presents a different experience yet again, but not just for Nur Iviana and her husband. 

Thanks to the virus pandemic, it been quite a strange past month for Muslims in Singapore and beyond. 

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We’ve observed Ramadan quite differently this year with variations of lockdowns in place and enhanced safety measures.

The typical elements and customs of the holy month are either gone or diminished — no gatherings at mosques, no Iftar meals with friends and extended family members, and definitely no house visits while sheltering in place. 

The isolation, however, wasn’t all that bad for Muslim households adhering to the circuit breaker while increasing their spiritual devotion. From breaking fast on Zoom to listening in to livestreamed sermons, fostering tighter relations with family and the divine wasn’t too tough to handle. 

To find out more about how some families are coping with Ramadan and Hari Raya preparations during a pandemic, AsiaOne reached out to Hazre, 39, who's the founder of kompang services business Kompang Hut, and Nur Iviana, 36.

While the couple has found that the schedule of the fasting month is more easily observed when spent at home, they definitely miss the festivities of Hari Raya.

"Normally when I look out the window (on the day), I can see different groups of families... this family will wear all orange, another family will wear all red. You can feel the mood straightaway, and the ambience. That's definitely something I'm going to miss this year," said Hazre.

Watch the video as they detail how they’ve been weathering the outbreak during Ramadan and what they’re planning to do to keep the festive mood alive on Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year. 

ilyas@asione.com