Old 1980s & 1990s photos of Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar show how different it used to be

Nostalgia.

Zhangxin Zheng| Fasiha Nazren| May 14, 12:16 PM

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, all Ramadan bazaars in Singapore – including the annual Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar – have been cancelled.

Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar in the 80s and 90s

In case you miss the festive atmosphere of the bazaar, here are some old photos from the National Archives, showing what the bazaar was like in the 80s and 90s.

The crowd

This photo was taken in 1991 to show the "crowded roads before Hari Raya".

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Here's a bird's eye view of the bazaar in 1997.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Here's another from 1995.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Nothing like the crowd that you have to squeeze through nowadays.

Decorations

The street decorations are one of main draws for families to drive by Geylang Serai during the festive period.

Notice the difference in designs over the years:

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Items and food

Here's a photo of a stall with banana and coconut leaves for sale in 1995.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

The banana leaves are usually used to make lontong (long, circular rice cakes) while coconut is usually used to make ketupat (diamond-shaped rice cakes).

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Vases too.

Here's a food stall that sells items like pais tenggiri (grilled mackerel) and kueh jongkong (a pandan dessert).

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

One can also get traditional toys and games like a congkak (mancala) board or a wau bulan (traditional moon kite). These are typically bought for decorative purposes too.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

More snacks and kuih-kuihs.

Artificial flowers.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Freshly-made lemang (rice cakes cooked in bamboo sick and banana leaves).

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

Rows of festive clothing like the baju kurung.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

And a variety of green packets for one to fill with money and give to children or elders.

Photo from National Archives of Singapore.

For more old photos of the bazaar, you can visit the Anything Halal Facebook group.

Top photos from National Archives Singapore