Sunday, September 27, 2009

Festive Raya

Selamat Hari Raya to all my Muslim friends !

Hari Raya Aidifitri is upon us. The important part of every Muslim's life in the month of Ramadan has ended. And the joyous celebration of Raya marks the end of the holy month.

Like so many others, I caught the fervour of the festive spirit in the city. Judging by the crowds that thronged the malls, business was brisk. For the ladies, the lovely clothes will spice their day and the men and little ones were not to be outdone too. In fact, I was looking for a baju kebaya to wear for a choir in November and I knew it was just the right time to be looking for one. As I window shopped, there were many things to enjoy.

Coincidentally, some shopping malls has the same themes of ' Balik Kampong'( literally ' returning home' ) atmosphere for the shoppers. Every Raya, millions of Muslims take this great opportunity to balik kampong to celebrate with their families and relatives. Months before Raya, tickets for travel, especially bus are snapped up well ahead of time to ensure the journeys are made. One song that I enjoy and I heard playing in the malls is the late Sudirman's 'Balik Kampong' which I feel gives so much added fervour to a homecoming. In fact, when I hear it, there's the added spring in my footsteps too :)

I caught the Malay cultural dances, the ketupat making, basket weaving, batik painting, and several traditional Malay crafts showcased to celebrate Raya. Tempting my taste buds were the chicken rendang, ketupat, lemang and the buah rojak sold in the stalls. The many varieties of cookies look so meltingly sweet but I do not have a sweet tooth. So, it's easy to to give them a pass:)

We made a long distance call to Edmonton, Canada to wish our friends, Seif and Shemila. They were truly delighted to hear our voices and told us they'd be in Kuala Lumpur in October.

During Raya , the festive spirit is extended to other Malaysians in the Open House invitations. It is a great way to celebrate one's festivities with the others - Chinese, Indians, and even foreign visitors. It was lovely to meet some old and make new friends at our Raya visits. For the young ones, there's the duit raya to look forward to. The joy of receiving cash in the special raya envelopes makes the young ones happy. I bought some orchids as Hari Raya gifts and made 2 trips to the Orchid Garden to pick my favourites.


  1. Thank you Keats. I admire how you capture the spirit so well. So how many open houses did you go to this year :)

  2. Every Muslim country has similar and also different traditions to celebrate the end of Ramadan. But I think it always include lots of eating :)) I love reading this post about your celebrations..

  3. Such glamorous fashions! And the food looks delish. Good photos of the dancers. Bet it's fun!

  4. I enjoy the air of festivities during Hari Raya season too. There are so many raya cookies and buka puasa treats to savour not to mention the various open houses by VIPs and friends. However, I also enjoy the 2 days during 1st and 2nd day of raya when everyone has left for their kampungs and the city is quiet and deserted. It's like a breath of fresh air.

  5. Wonderful photos, great looking clothes; this looks like a wonderful celebration, Keats!

  6. Oh, what a nice cultural show of your dresses and your food. I'd love to take part sometime and be accultured too. Am so much interested on things like these.

  7. Its a wonderful special festival :)
    Very interesting for me from Dutch !!!!!
    I learn many on the internet throught blogging abour different cultures ....
    Thanks :)

  8. Happy Raya, dear Keats and family! I received several invitations but only made it to one open house this year, but it was so nice that it made up the others! I loved the baju kebayas in this post. Unfortunately, I may be too chunky to wear one!

  9. My waist have expanded beyond recognition with all the eating during our 'balik kampung' trip...too many great food and MIL cooking was so fantastic!! I was in Sogo last weekend...parked there but didnt go in, instead went cloth hunting at TAR's been ages since I was there and the selection was vast. Now time to exercise :)

  10. Hi
    Ocean Girl, so far,we visited 4 open houses with 2 weddings thrown in!! But I don't think I've put on weight :))

    Turquiose Diaries, thanks for your comments.
    And the best of the festive spirit to you !

    Rosey Pollen, the clothes are beautiful, always fashionable and elegant!

    Autumn Belle, you're right. the exodus leaves KL very peaceful. Only now the frenzy is starting again!

    Gran,'tis a wonderful time for the community spirt too. hope yu're feeling better :)

    pacey, in a few weeks'time , it'll be Deepavali, a celebration by the Indians. So, as one festival finishes, another takes its place!!

    Anya, yes, blogging is one of the ways to get to know cultures.

    ~Covertoperations'78~, not to worry - work on the figure you want!! Now that you've started it, I think a good many inches off my hips will do just fine !!!

    M.Kate, did you spoil yourself silly?? It's hard not to eat all those yummy dishes, especially during this festive season. Hope you had a lovely break with the family.

  11. Thanks for sharing this wonderful photos

  12. Your post brought back the many happy years I spent in Asia. the pictures are great, as well as everything in them: the fashion, the people, the food. THank you!

  13. Thanks for visiting my blog today :) I'm just having a look around here. Great pictures, looks like people are having a good time. I am muslim but I never heard of Hari Raya. Is this another name for Eid?

  14. Thanks for a glimpse at the season - what a wonderfully festive atmosphere. I love the view of the shoppers from above - our stores will look like that soon here, too.

  15. Love the pictures and learning a little about your culture. I love this post.

  16. Hi
    Sonia, glad you enjoy the festive mood of Raya in the pics.

    Laura in Paris, glad to know these pics bring back wonderful memories of your time spent in Asia.

    Heavenly Housewife, In Malaysia, we call it Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid. Thanks for popping in.

    adrienne, the shopping mall was packed on almost all the floors!!

    Lucy, Malaysians seem to celebrate the year round! Coming up on 17 Oct is Deepavali, also known as Festival of Lights for the Hindus.

  17. Ahh...I miss ketupat & rendang! Maybe I should make some this weekend ;-)

  18. What a joyous, vibrant and colourful way to end Ramadan!

  19. Beautiful photos! I enjoy reading about special celebrations around the world. I love the fashions,too. What a natural atmosphere the photographs communicate. I do hope we keep in touch. And thank you for leaving a nice comment at my Puerto Rican Oasis blog site.

  20. Hi
    petite nyonya, ketupat and rendang are my favourites too! Think I should pop over to your place to enjoy them :))

    ladyfi, that's the way Hari Raya ( day of celebration)is celebrated here.

    Cynthia, thanks for following my blog. Glad you found this post interesting.

  21. Hi Keats!
    Wow! They look cute!!

    Blogtrotter is visiting Old Town Antalya in Turkey. Enjoy and have a glorious weekend!

  22. Ketupat and rendang are right down my alley!!

  23. Hi
    GMG, Enjoy Turkey! Thanks very much for your mail. Much appreciated :)

    Veronica Lee, hey! we have to share!! have a good day!

  24. I love to watch Malays wear baju, so graceful and beautiful.

  25. I love the end of Ramazan too!! Everyone makes such fabulous food!! For me, its the biryani and kebabs that I hog!! :)

  26. What a festive post! I love reading about the Raya traditions in your country. It's very interesting to see the similarities and differences. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful week, my dear :)

  27. HI
    Anncoo, yes, lovely bajus . soon it'll be my turn to look great too!. the first time I'm having a tailored made baju kebaya.

    Roshni Mitra Chintalapati, yes, fabulous food . galore and just too tempting for the tastebuds!

    ROSIDAH, it's a big Raya after Ramadan and it also helps to spread the muhibbah ( neighbourliness) spirit. Hope you're keeping well.


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