Fun-Filled Traditions of Eid or Hari Raya in South East Asia

By Umairah Nasir | 16, Apr, 2024
Fun-Filled Traditions of Eid or Hari Raya in South East Asia

Shawwal, the month following Ramadan, fondly known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid al-Fitr, holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims worldwide. It's not just a festival; it is a joyous Islamic celebration marking the end of Ramadan with vibrant traditions, each thread reflecting the spirit of togetherness, gratitude, and love. Let's delve into the essence of Hari Raya traditions in South East Asia (SEA) and uncover what makes them so genuinely heartwarming and joyous.

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Cleaning & Decorating the House

Hari Raya is a time to welcome loved ones into your home. To create a warm and inviting atmosphere, homes undergo a thorough cleaning. This "spring cleaning" is often a family affair, with everyone helping to dust, polish, and arrange furniture. The air fills with the satisfying hum of vacuums and the happy chatter of family members working together. The end result? A sparkling, clean home that reflects the joy and renewal associated with Hari Raya.

Once the cleaning is done, it is time to deck the corridors! Lampu Lap Lip (colourful lights) are strung up, casting a festive glow. Traditional decorations like ketupat (diamond-shaped woven pouches) made from palm leaves find their way onto shelves and windows.


Buying New Clothes

The excitement that fills the air as the festival draws near, and shopping for Baju Raya becomes a cherished tradition. It is more than just selecting fabrics and designs; it is about embracing our cultural identity and adorning ourselves with colours that reflect the vibrancy of our spirits. As we slip into our new attire, we are not just donning new outfits; we are wearing threads of joy, threads that bind us together as a community, threads that carry the hopes and dreams of a new beginning.


Preparing Delicious Food

Image Credit: Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

The aroma of spices wafting from the kitchen, the rhythmic sound of chopping and stirring—these are the sounds of love being poured into pots and pans, of family recipes passed down through generations. Hari Raya feasts are more than just culinary delights; they are a testament to the bonds that unite us. With each dish lovingly prepared, we are not just filling our stomachs; we are nourishing our souls with the warmth of shared meals, with the flavours of tradition, and with the sweetness of togetherness.

Several traditional dishes enjoyed during Hari Raya include Ketupat, Lemang, Rendang, Sayur Lodeh, and numerous others!


Embracing Connections, Near and Far

There's a special magic in the air as we embark on the tradition of visiting family and friends during Hari Raya. Whether it is a short journey across town or a heartfelt reunion after months apart, each visit is a celebration of connection, of shared memories, and of the ties that bind us. As we exchange warm embraces and heartfelt greetings, we are not just crossing thresholds; we are bridging distances, building bridges of love and understanding that span generations and cultures.


Sharing the Blessings of Eid or Hari Raya

In the midst of our own joy and abundance, Hari Raya reminds us of the importance of giving back to those in need. Through the tradition of Zakat Al-Fitr during Ramadan and acts of charity, we extend our hands in compassion, ensuring that everyone can partake in the blessings of the festival. As we share our blessings with the less fortunate, we are not just giving material aid; we are spreading the light of hope, the warmth of generosity, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow for all.


More than just Eidi Money

Eidi, Duit raya, or "Raya money," is a cherished tradition during Hari Raya. It is a simple concept: Muslims tuck money into green packets to give to children and elders. This tradition is not just about money; it is about spreading joy and reinforcing bonds of love and respect. Some wait until the end of visits to offer duit raya during respectful goodbyes, seizing the chance to seek forgiveness and strengthen family ties. Working adults typically give to children and elders, embodying the values of charity and respect ingrained in Islamic teachings.

Read more about Eidi here: Eidi Explained: The Tradition of Money Giving During Eid


Sweet Tradition of Kuih Raya
Kuih Raya

Kuih Raya is a special treat made by families during the fasting month, bringing everyone together for a delightful bonding experience. It is a chance to gather with siblings, in-laws, and cousins, strengthening family connections while baking these delicious snacks. The best part? The kuih made together can be shared with loved ones during Hari Raya celebrations, spreading joy and unity.

Traditional kuihs like Kuih Tart Nenas, Kuih Makmur, Suji, and many others add a sweet touch to the festivities!


Eid & Hari Raya: A Time of Joy

Hari Raya is more than just a celebration; it is a time for reflection and renewal. After a month of fasting and spiritual focus, the festival is a time of forgiveness within the Muslim community and also a time to mend broken relationships and strengthen family bonds. Children seek forgiveness from elders, and apologies are exchanged, fostering a sense of peace and harmony.

The traditions of Hari Raya, from the meticulous cleaning to the vibrant clothing and the delectable food, all contribute to the joyous spirit of the celebration. These traditions create a shared experience that strengthens bonds between families and communities, leaving a lasting impression that carries on long after the festivities end.

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