Written by: Cindy Banun
A brief history on Hari Raya Adilfitri:
Hari Raya Adilfitri, or simply Raya, as most call it, is also known as Eid-ul-Fitr festival. It is celebrated on the first day of Syawal, after a month of fasting during the holy month, Ramadhan.Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Adilfitri to show thankfulness to Almighty God as well as to their successful fasting journey and as means of amusement and merriment.
Ritual fasting, more commonly known as puasa, during the month of Ramadhan is one of the five pillars of Islam, the five basic acts in Islam that is considered mandatory by believers and is the foundation to the Muslim way of life. Outside of fulfilling one’s responsibility as a Muslim, fasting is also mostly considered as a method of spiritual self-refinement, and is also beneficial to health.
The excitement is building up as Hari Raya Aidilfitri quickly approaching, before the festivities dawn upon us, here are the few things we can’t help but to look forward to during Raya celebrations, that we’re sure you’ll be able to relate to as well:
1) The food
Of course, traditional dishes of the Malay cuisine such as ketupat, rendang, lemang and various kuih muih are abundantly served during the Raya celebration. Not only that, the pineapple tarts, coconut balls, red velvet cookies and the various other biscuits that you’ve been eyeing and drooling over is now at your mercy. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but even before the start of Ramadhan, the vendors in every shopping malls and markets have already started toting their wares. Of course, the vast choices mean that most people would probably start gorging on food. That’s why it is important to eat according to your needs, after all, the food will still be there for the entire celebration. Regardless of the occasion, it is still important to maintain a healthy diet, plus by doing so, you can help reduce food wastage as well. With all that said, the wait is finally over as Raya is right around the corner. You can enjoy the seemingly endless supply of food that you love, whether in the comfort of your own home or at open houses, which brings us to the next item on the list:
2) Open houses
“Salam Adilfitri”, or “Selamat Hari Raya”, followed by: “Maaf zahir dan batin” is the standard greeting when visiting relatives, cousins and friends’ open houses. With all the formalities put aside, it’s that time where you need to overcome the initial awkwardness of not remembering or recognizing the names and faces of the extended families and repeat the entire process of getting to know them again. With luck, maybe you’ll get along with them really well, and actually become friends that you can rely on during hard times. Then again, there is always that one uncle or cousin that you’ll never get along, no matter how hard you try… but I digress. Raya is a festival celebrated in good cheer and isn’t something to stress about.
3) Decked out in clothes
Is spending time scrolling through Lazada looking at pretty and stylish baju kurung and baju Melayu, wishing that you have a reason to buy a favourite past-time of yours? Or perhaps, you have an entire wardrobe full of Raya clothes that are considered too ‘dressy’ for everyday wear? Now’s the chance to go all out in your best clothes, and you’ll be right at home with others at various open houses. Moreover, you’ll get to compare and compete with your cousins to be the best dressed, moving from house-to-house in style. Maybe you’ll even get some inspiration for the next Raya celebration as you scroll through your Instagram feed filled with traditional OOTD pictures. Not to mention the possibility of seeing your crush all decked out in a pair of baju kurung or baju Melayu (swoon). That’ll most definitely make your day and the festival itself more memorable for you!
Of course, one of the most awaited aspect of the Raya celebration is the green packets given out by generous family head at the open house. Some people do end up with quite a sum of pocket money while doing their rounds to the open houses held by relatives and friends. While Raya is certainly a good chance to cash in, that should not be the sole reason to visit your relatives and friends’ open houses. Instead, it is important that these visits are made with a willing heart. An invitation from the gracious host to attend and stuff your mouth with delicious food while also socializing with the community is already an incredible honor, especially for non-Muslims who are invited to their friend’s open houses as these visits serve as excellent opportunities to find out what are the traditional practices done during Raya celebrations.
5) Just a good breather
In the city, the week leading to Raya is the busiest. The roads, and shopping malls are packed with people doing last minute Raya preparations, while others are just taking the opportunity to snatch a good deal from the sale held virtually everywhere in conjunction with the nearing festival. The city starts to clear out and become quiet as people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike take the chance to go back to their hometowns to visit their families and celebrate the festival together. They can catch a break and relax in the midst of familiar faces, while those who are staying back in the city get to enjoy the peace uncharacteristic of a big city for at least two days.
Plus, it’ll help for non-Muslim students to make use of this precious time catch up with the strain of assignments and deadlines. Moreover, the days following the Raya festival means that even the lecturers will usually be in a ‘holiday mood’ and hopefully don’t start giving out any assignments right away.