Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!
Or Eid Mubarak, whichever you prefer, as we celebrate victory over out nafs (self and inner worldly desires) after a whole month of fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan. (Okay so Eid was actually on Wednesday hahah but better late than never!)
Malaysians usually just call Eid as Hari Raya (lit. Great Day). We’d cook up a feast with lemang and rendang being the main dishes and visit relatives and friends throughout the month. This is the time when you’ll be seeing a lot of open houses and lots and lots of Malaysian traditional food and kuih.
I’ll tell you upfront that one of my all time favourite food is lemang and it’s a rarity on other days of the year so it’s a double treat for me, especially. Last year, my family celebrated Hari Raya in Penang so the meal and setting was grander but really, it’s the people whom you spend the day with that counts, right?
I didn’t get to take pictures because everyone was so busy but the first day of Eid usually goes like this for my family:
Quick breakfast of lemang and rendang
Eid congregational prayers at the Mosque
More breakfast with more food and kuih
Family session where pictures are taken and everyone apologises to each other for past transgressions and hurt feelings. Also, the duit raya session where kids get money from elders in a small packet.
Relatives start arriving / Visit the houses of relatives and friends
I went to at least five different houses on the first day alone and ate so much, I think I need to work out the extra calories soon. But it’s good. To be able to reconnect with my cousins and update each other with what’s happening in our lives-it’s not everyday we get to do that.
The next few days were spent travelling to my father’s hometown (Batu Pahat, Johor) and visiting his uncles and aunts and before today, I never really realised of how much knowledge and history they have known and lived through. It’s amazing.
The traffic on the highway was terrible, so dad decided to take a detour through some villages. To be honest, I have never actually cared about kampungs but the scene as we drove through the place was new to me. (I grew up in the city and then, in a modern town) I noticed that sometimes there’ll be a shallow moat or trench around the houses. In Johor, that’s how people used to mark the perimeter of their lands. It’s called parit in Malay. A lot of the villages have the word parit attached to them, like Parit Sulong for example. The road was narrow so dad couldn’t drive very fast and we got to see how a Malay kampung house looks like nowadays. I posted the video on my tumblr page so just click on the link below if you want to see it.
I have a lot of pictures but I’ll need to sort through them first before I can begin posting. And I’ll also be writing another short story about my experiences from this year’s celebration~ For the meantime, Selamat Hari Raya!!
Kuih – Malay sweet cakes and cookies, very yummy!
Duit Raya – Similar to Ang Pao given by the Chinese. However, duit raya is more thought of as a charity given to children now. Some earlier practices were to give money based on successful completed fasts carried out by the children as a way to encourage them to fast.
Kampung – Malay village/hometown
Parit – shallow trench/waterway