Thursday, November 03, 2005

Selamat Hari Raya Adilfitri

Today we celebrate Hari Raya Adilfitri (or Puasa) in Malaysia which is a joyous occasion to the Muslims. Usually celebrations would have started after last night's iftar meal (Buka puasa) as children play with fireworks throughout the night ushering in Hari Raya. The city is quiet unlike the usual hustle and bustle with most people gone (Balik Kampung in Malay) to their outstation home towns. This morning, traditionally they will visit the mosque for special Adil Fitri prayers all decked up in their new Baju Melayu, for the men and Baju Kurung/Kebaya, for the ladies. They will also visit the graves of their lost loved ones to remember them. For those who visit once a year, they will also clear the graves of any unwanted overgrowth and place fresh flowers there.

After performing these rituals, it is time for everyone to ask for forgiveness from their elders whether they are grandparents, parents, siblings or relatives. They will perform a salam (Malay equivalent of a handshake, where they clasp the two hands of the elders) and kiss the hands of the elder as a sign of respect and to ask for all wrongs to be forgiven and forgotten. Children and older folks are given "green paus", little green envelopes that contain duit raya (Malay for money).

Throughout the day, there will be open houses with friends and relatives visiting each other. Cookies, ketupat, lemang, rendang and Malay delicacies will be served to guests when they visit. Some kids in the kampung (Malay for village) will gather together and visit houses around the area to collect "duit raya". Although the celebrations is for one whole month, the first two days see a lot of festivities as it is public holiday in Malaysia. This year, celebrations will be on for four days with the weekend too.

Selamat Hari Raya Adilfitri to everyone and do enjoy the festivities.

*Picture shows the traditional ketupat made from palm leaves.

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