HARI RAYA CELABRATION IN PENANG / MALAYSIA
PENANG / HARI RAYA AIDIFILTRI
HARI RAYA AIDIFILTRI is celebrated by all the Malays who are Muslims, and also those from other races who have embraced Islam faith as their religion after conversion.
Hari Raya, when translated from the Malay language, means 'big day'. So it's a grand celebration here, especially when Malaysia is a Muslim country. The first 2 days of hari raya are declared as public holidays nation wide for Muslim new year celebration.
The Muslims observe the first day of Syawal month in the Muslim calendar as new year after fasting for one month. During the whole Ramadan fasting month, all Muslims are required to start fasting for approximately 12 hours from sunrise in the morning till sunset in the evening. Fasting is compulsory for all Muslims, except for young kids or those medically unfit or weak adults. And those so exempted from fasting are still required to pay back by fasting 1 month earlier in the following year before Ramadan month. During the fasting period drinking of water is also not allowed and any small amount of saliva accumulated in mouth has to be spat out as well.
In Malaysia, any Muslim caught eating or drinking during the fasting period , will be punished by the Syariah court which governs Muslim law. The strict observation of fasting is a belief which will enable all Muslims to personally go through the hardship of hunger and thirst as endured by Prophet Muhammed, and thus do penance for any kind committed sins in order to be forgiven by Allah, the Almighty God. The giving of alms to the less fortunate is widely
practised during Ramadan month.
During the fasting month, it is the duty of Muslim housewives to get up in the early morning hours to prepare and cook meals for the whole family so that a good meal can be taken before sunrise. Breaking fast after sunset is called 'buka puasa' in Malay. Food bazaars are set up near Muslim communities, selling authentic Malay cuisine for 'buka puasa' immediate consumption. Business is very good as the house cook may be working or too weak to cook a good dinner meal after 12 hours of fasting. Even the non-Muslims are attracted to join in the festive mood of buying food at the temporary food bazaars due to the vast varieties available there.
As the Ramadan fasting month is approaching end, sighting of the moon will take place and HARI RAYA is then fixed once the new moon sight is spotted. And HARI RAYA celebrations begins with prayers and everyone wearing new clothes and shoes, other than lots of appetising good food. It is also a day when Muslims in Malaysia visit the burial places pay homage to deceased members in their family.