Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hari Raya Special Edition: Walking Down Memory Lane

*mind the spelling mistake (^_~)

As I sit in front of the laptop, pondering on what to write, I found myself going back in time. I found myself in ‘walking down memory lane’ mode, remembering back those days… when I was still a child, spending my Hari Raya abroad, or as they say, ‘Perantauan’.

No, of course it is not due to holidays during Hari Raya. Nor did I study at a university abroad. But my mother happens to continue her study there, so my father, my siblings and I joined her. So we spend the Raya together.

Well… in a way, I’d say that I really miss those two Eid I spend there. It is definitely different than any Raya spent here, be it in Johor (my mum’s side) nor Penang/Perlis (my dad’s). There are no ‘balik kampung’ traffic, nor can we go down to Sogo, Masjid India or Plaza Angsana to shop for Baju Raya. But we did manage to get one or two pairs of new outfits as there’s a Muslim tailor in the area (thankfully! *smile*)

A few days before raya, there’s the usual rush of baking our favourite ‘kuih raya’, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and a few others. There are no announcements of the Yang Dipertuan Agong, “dengan ini diisytiharkan esok, ……. Adalah hari raya.” But it was replaced with a phone call from my mum’s Muslim friend, calling in to spread the good news: “tomorrow is Raya!!”. My siblings and I, being very active kids, immediately jumped up and down our bed upon hearing the news, anticipating the day ahead.

The most memorable time during the blessed day was, for us kids, after the ‘Eid prayer. Being unfamiliar with the culture of the Muslims there, my brothers and I were quite surprised when they announced that all the children are to go to the side of the hall after the ‘Eid khutbah. As I followed the crowd, I found them all lined up in a long line. I stood in the line and waited. To my surprise, we each get a small present, for the girls around my age, we get a box of beads. I was very ecstatic, as during those days, my favourite pastime was making jewelries out of beads. I still consider the present one of my favourite gifts of all times, and still remember it exactly – although almost a decade had past by.

After the prayer, the few Malays in my area get together at a small function room in the university for a pot luck feast. We did not have any Malaysian hall or what-nots there, as there were so few of us – only around two families and six bachelors. Some Malays from nearby towns also came and joined the feast.

Hm… what about the food? Of course, we cooked all the raya food from each other’s hometown. My mum came up with a very creative way to get us some nasi empit (mind the spelling) for the lontong. She collected milk plastics (instead of boxes, fresh milk there come in plastics), wash them up and put rice in them to boil.

The feast itself was a very merry occasion, with a lot of food and fun chatter, and of course, for us kids, play as well. I love it a lot as I was able to meet other Malay kids my age during the occasion (as the family from the other city had two children my age, whereas the Malays in my city had none).

Of course, as in Malaysia, we still go to our friends’ houses. But there, the Muslims don’t give out ang-pows (well… except for the Malays). Instead, those who are really close to me gave me little presents. My parents quickly adapt this culture, asking my siblings and I whether we wish presents or money for Hari Raya. Obviously, the answer is unanimously toys. We all agreed that toys that we will ask for is more expansive than the money that we may get *grins*. Hence, every year since, we’ve been getting presents instead of duit raya for ‘Eid.

Another major difference with spending ‘Eid at ‘Perantauan’ or, more specifically, where my mum was studying at the time, is the excitement of exploring other cultures. As we visit friends, we had discovered many interesting things about their respective cultures. We had discovered how Iranians have a passion for youghurt to go with most of their dishes, how the Arabs cook very superb rice dishes, and how, with Egyptians, you’re not to praise or show too much interest on their toys or belongings, or else they will simply give them to you. We also gained a lot of insight on how Chinese Muslims cook their food, not to mention Lebanese and Pakistani delicacies, as well as how they spend their ‘Eidul Fitr Festivals.

In a way, while being away from Malaysia and unable to spend the Hari Raya at my kampung, I had a lot of fun. The ukhuwah Islamiyyah which bonds Muslims, the brotherhood ties allows my family and me to be happy and contented, despite being away from our homeland. This beautiful tie transcends the barrier of culture and language, going beyond family ties, a bond of ‘aqeedah Islamiyyah. And I was thankful for the valuable experience, Alhamdulillah.

Wow.. I've been musing and walking down memory lane for quite some time. Admittedly, I really missed those times, and the friends I make there. And I love the Eid I had spent there. I hope that some day, Allah will allow me to meet them again, InsyaAllah..


‘Eid Mubarak everyone!!!

Sorry for anything inappropriate, or any faults posted at this ‘Writing Den’ of mine.

And for those who know me, sorry for any mistakes which I intentionally or unintentionally did

May this ‘Eid brings in joy and rahmah to us all,

And strengthen our ukhuwah.

May our ibadah in the month of Ramadhan that had just ended brings about maghfirah from the Almighty


Hilal Asyraf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilal Asyraf said...

salah hantar comment...
ni masalah kalau bukak banyak blog ni...
he he...
sori akak...
ingatkan blog junior tadi...

sori sori....

raye leklok....

Maaf Zahir batin

Humayra' said...

kindda funny.
no wonder i didn't understand the 1st comment at all..
it's alrite hilal..

Muhammad Hamdan said...

4JJ1uAkbar 4JJ1uAkbar 4JJ1uAkbar, Laailaahailla4JJ1 hwa-4JJ1uAkbar
4JJ1uAkbar wali4JJ1il-Hamd!

-The ever-green memories I'll cherish every eid:D