Selamat hari raya, Eid Mubarak to all, fashionably late as usual. Hari Raya was last week, but I’m still just getting over all the festivities. Eid in Malaysia is hugely different from Eid back home. Back home, it would be morning prayers followed by donuts outside the mosque, dinner with friends in the evening and back to work the next day.
Here it is basically a solid month of frantically running around visiting everyone on earth who you know before the cakes and ketupat run out. Many people spend the whole of Ramadan getting their homes ready for the endless visits that will come pouring in. People string lights or set out kerosene lamps. People order 2 or 3 or more pairs of new clothes. It is a very merry occassion.
Now some of my muslim readers might scoff and say that such extravagant displays go against the spirit of the holiday, and to some extent it’s true. Many people spend more than they can afford to, or devote more time to the holiday to come than to the fasting and worship of Ramadan that is the purpose for the holiday in the first place.
But I don’t complain about that much, for one big reason. My children love Ramadan and Hari Raya. It’s exciting, enjoyable and memorable for them, as compared to back home, where it passed by quickly and, all things considered, they preferred Hanukah. Presents from Grandma for eight days straight: it’s hard to beat.
Hari Raya for the kids is kind of like a month of trick-r-treating, except instead of just knocking on doors to collect their loot, they have to go inside, engage in polite conversation for twenty minutes and kiss their host’s hand before they can collect their envelopes with a few ringgit in it. I think that custom is wonderful for building neighborliness and children who can socialize with adults. There must be 60 or 70 children under the age of 15 in our subdivision, and I know all their names, their fathers’ names, what school they go to, what grade they’re in and where their house is, because they have to come in, munch a cookie and tell me all that before I’ll let them go with their money.
Those are holiday shots of the kids, of course, interspersed with the post. I’ve got more to say about the holidays, and more pictures too, but I better post this now before another month and a half flies by. Hoping your fasting and eid were happy ones, and may Allah accept them from us, Amin.