One Kampong Gelam Presents Raikan Cahaya Ramadan: A Thirty-Three Day Celebration Of Lights And Community
The annual Kampong Gelam Ramadan Bazaar returns with its biggest line-up of booths to-date, and a 10-day charity drive
The historic precinct of Kampong Gelam is set to bring back its annual Ramadan bazaar and entertainment programmes with Raikan Cahaya Ramadan. Positioned as a rousing lead-up to Hari Raya Puasa, this year’s festivities welcome the biggest curation of booths (over 100) to-date, with dazzling light installations, performances and a charity drive for a truly “glam” culmination of heritage experiences and community spirit across 15 March to 16 April 2023.
THE BEGINNINGS OF KAMPONG GELAM BAZAAR
Known as the Muslim-Malay quarter of Singapore, the native Malay roots of Kampong Gelam trace back to the colonial 1820s when the area was first allocated for Malay, Arab and Bugis communities under the reign of Malay sultans. Despite the influx of immigrant communities which saw the ‘kampong’ or “compound” in Malay grow into a multi-ethnic community, the area maintained its significance as a centre for Malay-Muslim activities due to its storied history and trove of cultural attractions.
With the impressive Masjid Sultan – Singapore’s most prominent mosque that was gazetted as a national monument in 1975 – as focal point, the first Kampong Gelam Bazaar started back in the 1960s where visitors congregated for prayers, post-fast feasts and shopped for Eid-related goods with a backdrop of ethnic performances.
CAHAYA RAMADAN SERIES
While the Kampong Gelam Bazaar has been a Ramadan mainstay throughout the decades, its past editions since 2021 saw the return of festivities at a grander scale that hark back to the bustling 60s, with elements that cement its present-day identity as a vibrant enclave that intersects modernity and tradition.
Building on the successes of previous iterations and GLAMboyant – the 10-day Kampong Gelam F1 precinct activation – this year’s celebration is poised to be the biggest activation yet in One Kampong Gelam’s ongoing goal of reinvigorating interest to ultimately drive footfall for the betterment of businesses.
Translating to “celebrating the light of Ramadan”, Raikan Cahaya Ramadan combines the quintessential Ramadan bazaar with wondrous light displays and an exciting roster of performances that close with a 10-day charity drive – all for a fitting conclusion to a holy month of self-reflection, sacrifice and community.
“While Ramadan is a period of introspection, it is also a month of communal celebrations and empathy – both of which form the key pillars of Raikan Cahaya Ramadan,” says Mohammad Zaki Ma’arof, Chairman of One Kampong Gelam. “We hope visitors will enjoy the many facets and experiences of Kampong Gelam at our biggest activation yet, but also leave with an understanding that the Kampong spirit is a value and attitude that one can bring into their everyday lives”.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Taking place across key districts for 33 days from 15 March to 16 April 2023, the Glam Eid is best summarised into five experience pillars – food, retail, lights, entertainment and community.
FOOD – DAILY
Mapped along the streets of Baghdad Street, Kandahar Street and right outside Sultan Gate, visitors can look forward to Kampong Gelam’s biggest food line-up yet with up to 86 stalls. Featuring a mix of vibrant food trucks, outdoor grills and a 2-storey mezzanine for dining on the top floor, expect a galore of traditional favourites such as Kuih Raya, satay, local seafood and deep-fried snacks, alongside trendy foods with the option of outdoor or mezzanine seats overlooking the crowd.
RETAIL – DAILY
Strategically dotted between various F&B zones are 23 retail booths selling modern arts, traditional crafts and clothes by independent artists or artisans for a varied showcase of creativity that one can bring home.
*Note: Both the food and retail line-up will be announced closer to date via Kampong Gelam’s socials here.
LIGHTS: MOMENT PROJECTION – FRIDAYS TO SUNDAYS
In this third year of One Kampong Gelam’s Cahaya Ramadan series, projection lighting returns to uplift and vivify festival grounds. Illuminating none other than the iconic façade of the Masjid Sultan, passers-by can expect an immersive projection depicting the evolving arts and culture of Kampong Gelam that can be seen (and photographed) from afar.
LIGHTS: AERIAL LIGHT SHOW – FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS
Hovering over the event ground (Sultan Gate) are aerial light showcases utilising drone-controlled LED kites with brightly coloured lightings to dazzle onlookers, while micro light installations brighten the atmosphere and signify the ever-deepening connection between people and the holy month of Ramadan.
Intended to elevate the ambiance, visitors will also notice special Raikan Cahaya Ramadan Arcs to welcome them into festival grounds, with a pavement of fairy lights along main festival streets for a colourful backdrop at every turn.
No Ramadan Bazaar is complete without entertainment. Featuring a mainstage right by the Baghdad Street carpark, visitors can wind down over a backdrop of live music performances with a roster of singers, traditional and modern dances as well as enriching live dialogues.
*Note: More details of the line-up will be announced closer to date.
COMMUNITY: MASS IFTAR AT ARAB STREET – 1 APRIL ONLY
Iftar is the evening meal that Muslims end their daily fast with during the month of Ramadan. A religious observance that combines the appreciation of having food with spiritual fulfilment, Iftar or breaking fast, is often done in a communal setting with beliefs of sharing Ramadan’s blessings – at home with families or friends, or with fellow worshippers after evening prayers.
In an effort to rally the community into sharing their food, One Kampong Gelam will be holding a Mass Iftar on 1 April, 2023 along Arab Street where attendees can purchase tables in advance for their own Iftar, or pay-it-forward for beneficiaries of the Mosque Sultan Community Chest and Jalan Besar GRC.
COMMUNITY: CHARITY DRIVE – 7 TO 16 APRIL, 4PM – 8PM
Coinciding with Qiyamullail (night prayers) over the last ten days of Ramadan, the One Kampong Gelam team will be roping in partners from Helwa’s Gourmet and Enniche to take over collection spots at 45 Sultan Gate where visitors can donate pre-loved clothes, non-perishable foods and home essentials. All items will be consolidated, then distributed to less fortunate beneficiaries at the end of Ramadan – just in time for joyous celebrations.
Raikan Cahaya Ramadan is a festival spearheaded by One Kampong Gelam in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board. Held over a 33-day period from 15 March – 16 April 2023, visitors can find out the latest updates by visiting the official OKG socials here.
For other upcoming events, visit Events in Singapore.
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