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Discovering the Ramadan Bazaars...Part 1
The fasting month of Ramadan for the Muslims, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, always lends itself to a myriad of activities, that aims to promore a deeper spiritual meaning to what seems to be mere physical exertations to those who don't fully understand its meaning.
Amongst the variety of must-haves during this month is the traditional food and Ramadan bazaar, those temporarily set-up kiosks that sells a wide variety of food and other Ramadan/Eid-related items. Though the primary focus of these bazaars is to add to the celebratory mood of this holy month, nonetheless, these bazaars also offers an opportunity to those who are willing to offer themselve to be entrepreneurs.
The usually food-items and other knicks-knacks on sale are usually aimed to complement the iftar (break fast) meals, as well as offering its other non-Muslim-going visitors a peek into the whole gamut of halal (versus 'Muslim' food) offerings, regardless of its ethnic origins. (in Singapore's case, being primarily Malay-centric culinary items in particular). Other items on sale are usually also geared towards complementing the celebratory mood of the impending Eid celebrations, which is, sadly or otherwise, entails a bigger celebration stature amongst the Malay/Muslim community over here.
I hope to be able to encapsulate the few truly Ramadan/Eid-centric bazaars all over the island during the month of Ramadan this time round, with the aim of capturing its spirit and atmosphere for posterity, and hopefully, for my followers who are non-Muslims, or who are not from this part of the world, to be able to partake in the celebrations, albeit visually, from my photographs.
For my first edition of this project, I visited the famous bazaar behind the iconic Sultan Mosque, located along the North Bridge Road, Singapore.
Irfan Darian
The bazaar gets crowded usually after the late afternoon prayers (Asar), that also coincides with the ending time of most offices located at the office buildings nearby. On weekends, the crowd starts building up even earlier. Plus the usual tour groups that makes a beeline for the bazaar, before or after the mandatory 'touristy' trip to the Sultan Mosque, and one would usually have a pretty crowded scene along the shop aisles.
With its rich Arab-centric history, it is no surprise that the occasional Middle-Eastern food items make its way to the bazaar. In fact, over the years, the food offerings on sale have evolved from the usual Malay-centric fare, to more offerings from the Middle-Eastern region. The food has also gone from slighly cheaper offerings, to a greater degree of variety and pricing, perhaps to cater to a wider demographics of the local populace, and the greater purchasing power of the intended audiences.
The dome and minarets of the iconic Sultan Mosque, a mere stone's throw away from the location of the bazaar, seen through the newly-constructed entrance.