First and foremost, a heartfelt Selamat Hari Raya to all of our Muslim friends who are reading this. Hari Raya Aidilfitri commemorates the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting and overcoming personal challenges. Usually, our Muslim friends are overjoyed about it, and they just can’t wait to balik kampung and meet their extended families and relatives.
But this time is different; they have no choice but to stay at home and celebrate internally for the betterment of themselves and their country. I believe we should really appreciate them for being so understanding in this situation. Aside from that, celebrating the festival at home will be a new experience for all of us.
But, let us focus on the positive aspects that bring us joy and excitement, because I’m about to tell you the usual five things that all Malaysians love about Raya. Shall we?
Okay! Let’s not hide the truth here because who doesn’t like holidays? Everyone, from a schoolkid to a working adult, enjoys holidays, especially during the festive season.
Not only that, but when we were in primary and secondary school, we would return home early for the entire puasa month with our Muslim friends. That’s like one of the most rewarding months of the year for a student.
Hari Raya Advertisements
I am certain that everyone has seen at least one Petronas advertisement during Hari Raya, and it will either make you giggle or make you sob. Not only Petronas, but most of the established corporate companies would undoubtedly create heartwarming videos to coincide with Raya.
Not to forget, the well-known Raya song that all Malaysians relish. Yes, we’re talking about Saloma’s Selamat Hari Raya and Sudirman’s Balik Kampung. Oh, what a catchy song it is!
The Green Packets
The green packets, of course! What difference does it make if you get blue, green, or red bills inside the packet? As long as something is inside. As children, we were all overjoyed to receive duit raya from our neighbors and our parents’ friends.
But the sad part kicks in when you get older and start giving the green packet instead of receiving it. However, seeing a kid smile as he or she receives the duit raya takes me back to my childhood. That’s when you realise that happiness comes not only from receiving but also from giving.
Whether you’re ten or thirty, the firecrackers will definitely get you thrilled. Some people enjoy playing with firecrackers, while others prefer to watch the fireworks from their balcony. It’s as if someone had painted the night sky with vibrant colours.
However, as exciting as it is to see and play with firecrackers, children should be extremely careful when doing so. Adults, please be with them while they are playing with firecrackers, because safety should be our top priority.
Open houses, steaming rendang, ketupat and kuih raya
Raya wouldn’t be complete unless we mentioned the open houses and gatherings, right? Malaysians are famous for a month-long Raya celebration that includes open houses even after the public holidays have ended.
Because, let’s face it, this is what we’ve all been waiting for! Unfortunately, you will not be able to visit the open house this year but you are extremely lucky if you have Muslim neighbours. You would be able to indulge in the Raya food because they could simply pass their food over to your house. This year’s Raya food is just a fence away!
Having said that, this year’s Raya may be a little quieter than usual, but that doesn’t make it any less special. During these trying times, may this Syawal bring you love, togetherness, peace, harmony, and optimism. Once again, Eid Mubarak and Selamat Hari Raya from all of us at Varnam Malaysia.