As Raya is steadily approaching, it’s no surprise that most Malaysians (especially those celebrating) are feeling a little down due to the fact that this year’s Hari Raya will be a bit different than what we’re used to. With all of the newly introduced SOPs that we have to abide by as part of the ‘new normal’, there’s bound to be changes where we’d have to miss out on some of our common Raya traditions this year.
From a daughter who can’t be reunited with her family to a friend who can’t go visit his friends, we asked a few Malaysians to share what Raya activity they’ll miss the most this year, and what they are doing to cope with their current situation:
1. Last-minute shopping at Jalan TAR
“My Hari Raya is usually not complete without going shopping for my Raya necessities at Jalan TAR. The most epic part about shopping there is when all the prices are slashed even further on the last night before Raya. I can get everything I need, from head to toe, with just a budget of around RM100!
But since there won’t be any bazaars this year, I’ve been doing most of my shopping online and I’d also make sure to buy from local sellers so we can support our local entrepreneurs in this difficult time.” – Tasha, 32, Sentul
2. Bonding with close friends at open houses
“I’ve been holding open houses every Hari Raya for the past six years. My wife would wake up as early as 5 a.m. just to cook her rendang while I’d help to get everything else ready for the guests. I’d also make sure to order some lemang from Lemang Bonda Subang every single year because my friends absolutely love them!
And even though the government announced that we can visit each other on the first day of Raya this year, I would prefer to keep it safe and not hold an open house. However, I’ve been sending some dishes made specially by my wife to my friends via courier services instead. I hope it’ll offer them some comfort.” -Saiful, 53, Shah Alam
3. Lighting pelita for ‘malam tujuh likur‘
“My family loves lighting pelita especially to celebrate ‘malam tujuh likur‘. ‘Malam tujuh likur‘ is basically the last seven nights of Ramadan where we’d start to light the pelitas to signify that Hari Raya is coming. Even though it’s getting tougher to find minyak tanah nowadays, my little brothers and I still try to do it every year because our Raya feels incomplete without those lights!
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to return to my hometown this Raya. I’m definitely going to miss a lot of things but the pelitas were the first to come to mind. Now I’m considering to hang up those kelap-kelip lights in my apartment instead to get that Raya ‘feel’ hahaha.” -Aiman, 26, Subang
4. Receiving duit Raya
“Every Hari Raya, my parents would bring me along to visit their Malay friends and while I do love the delicious Raya food served, another highlight for me is the duit Raya! I’ve always found it amazing because even though I’m the one visiting their houses, they’re the ones giving me duit Raya. I feel like it should be the other way around but I guess, this is another wonderful side of Malaysians where we’d welcome everyone to celebrate our festivities.
This year, I’m even more touched because even though I don’t get to visit them, some of my parents’ friends were nice enough to send me e-duit raya through their e-wallets and e-banking apps! Hooray for technology! I really hope these kind uncles and aunties will be able to have a great Raya despite what’s going on right now.” -Ashvin, 19, Klang
5. Driving back to my hometown at midnight to avoid traffic
“As a working adult living away from home, it goes without saying that I’d miss going back to my hometown and spending Raya with my family the most. And every year, I’d start my journey back at midnight just to avoid the traffic jam! Not only is the midnight drive really peaceful, but I’d also usually arrive just in time for sahur!
This year will be my first time celebrating on my own. I’ve been video calling my family all Ramadan and I’ll probably continue to spend my Hari Raya virtually with them as well. We won’t let the distance between us get in the way of spending this Raya together!” -Nurul, 25, Gombak
It goes without saying that this unprecedented situation we’re facing now is definitely taking a toll on a lot of us. But instead of being dejected by current circumstances, we certainly admire these Malaysians for still trying their best to have their ‘new normal’ version of a perfect Raya. It goes to show that even in difficult times, we should be grateful for what we have and try to make the best of our situations to have a meaningful celebration.
Speaking of which, in hopes of inspiring all Malaysians to find strength in this situation as well, Maxis has since released a new Raya ad that perfectly captures the emotions we’re all going through right now while still managing to highlight the true meaning of this celebration and the importance of finding beauty in every adversity. The “film” follows the perspective of a little boy who is still grateful to celebrate this less-than-perfect Raya as long as we get to celebrate it with our loved ones, and you can watch it right here:
Also, don’t you guys think it’s super cool that this Raya ad only features audio and no visuals?
This is quite a brave move by Maxis and we think it certainly paid off! The sincere tone of the little boy’s voice really brought the message to life and inspired us to count our blessings, no matter how big or small. It’s definitely a great reminder to celebrate every moment with a full heart.
With that said, we truly hope that all of you are still holding on during these tough times and are able to find the good in every circumstance. Remember, regardless of how you’re celebrating this Raya, don’t forget to connect with your loved ones, near and far, and share a memorable and joyful time together.
What are the Raya activities that you guys would miss this year? Tell us below!
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