Travel Spotlight: You.
As we celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration, I decided to change the Travel Spotlight to feature Malaysians who has or will be celebrating this festivity overseas. For the benefit of my international readers, Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Ed al-Fitr) is celebrated by all Muslims around the world in that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. On this day, we would go home to our family, seek forgiveness, visit our relatives, conduct Raya prayers in the morning, and donate to those in need and wish our fellow Muslims “Selamat Hari Raya”. Although it is celebrated by the Muslims, non – Muslims would also be invited to their homes to enjoy the food and company by the host during this month. Some of the submission for this post was from Malaysians who are currently living, working or travelling overseas during this holy month. Here I feature their experiences and stories.
Siti Norbaya & Faizul Hazreem, Napier, New Zealand
Coming to our third year celebrating in New Zealand, my husband and I had moved to this foreign land when he got the opportunity to work with a local company here. Being so far away, there are many things you learn to appreciate and that there’s definitely no place like home.
What I miss most about Hari Raya in Malaysia are my family, relatives and friends. The joy of spending Raya morning with my family is something that cannot be duplicated. Being in Napier, there’s not much of Malaysian here, just a few of us, but lucky for us, we are all quite close and practically like a family here.
Even though everyone is far away from home and family, we are trying to create the atmosphere of celebrating Hari Raya like in kampung since most of us are staying in farm. We are planning to go for morning prayers in town, visit each other’s’ house before everyone gather at the farm, cooking and celebrating Hari Raya together like a true family. Sometimes we’ve got other Malaysian working holiday travellers as our guests, celebrating Hari Raya with us. We know the feeling of being away from family and friends on festive season like this, and it’s a good thing if they can join us together. Skype with family in Malaysia is a must do things on that day too.
Izar Azmi from Hastings, New Zealand
I would like to wish Salam Lebaran Minal Aidil Walfaiziin to my dad Azmi Shaari and the rest of the family in Seremban, Arau, Kulim and Penang, of course to my friends all over Malaysia, Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin!
I feel a wee bit homesick when it comes to celebrate Hari Raya abroad, especially here at this end corner of the world. Obviously missing the loved ones back home, the food, the mood and spirit of the celebration itself. But luckily Alhamdulillah, my fellow Malaysians here and I, already designated the tasks of cooking and preparation for the celebration. So we won’t miss much of the food like rendang, lemang, and ketupat.
This time, I’m in charge of preparing the kuih raya and as of now the batang buruk, kuih makmur, and tat nenas are ready for the celebration. I might perhaps make one more type of kuih though. During Hari Raya, we will gather at a Malaysian couple’s farm house after morning Aidilfitri prayers. It is located about an hours drive away and this somehow feels like “balik kampung” (going back to hometown) for us! We will be gathering, enjoying the food while some plan to stay overnight for BBQ.
Dian Azura in Radolfzell, Germany
My wish for Hari Raya is to enjoy wherever you are, don’t have to make it feel as authentic, just so long as you have good company and good food – that’s all that matters. In fact, it didn’t have to be just Hari Raya, every weekend should be a reason to celebrate 🙂 Selamat Hari Raya! – @daniaryezel
I love how my friends didn’t try to make it Malaysian during Hari Raya when I was around. So Mitha, an old friend of mine decided to make German’s traditional Christmas dinner for Hari Raya which is a roast duck, marinated with spices and mandarin orange and pickled radish salad. What usually happens through my stay in Radolfzell is – Syiks and Mitha would be doing the cooking, Renee and I will be playing video games.
Mitha loves cooking. She can cook and bake anything so obviously during my week stay at her place; we ate at home for breakfast lunch and dinner. Being here made me realised how amazing it is to just eat at home with your family. It being in Germany, Germans appreciate their family time like its gold. Renee would walk home for breakfast/lunch and dinner from work (because it’s so nearby). Something we Malaysians don’t often do back home. At one point, Renee assembled his telescope and we spent an hour admiring the Milky Way while waiting for the roast duck. Yes, the Kneist reminded me that the littlest things makes a relationship stronger.
Anis Ibrahim in Moscow, Russia
I’ve celebrated Hari Raya overseas several times, but the most recent occasion was in 2007 when I was in Moscow, Russia, for work. I arrived in the last few days of Ramadan and although I knew that I would be spending Hari Raya in Russia, I very stupidly didn’t bring any baju kurung!
Food wasn’t really an issue on the first day of Hari Raya– the Malaysian ambassador had invited my colleagues and I to his house, so I was still able to eat rendang, satay and lontong, just like everyone else back in Malaysia. This photo is of me in my not very Hari Raya jacket and jeans in Red Square, Moscow, when my friends and I went out for a walk after our meal at the ambassador’s residence.
Despite being with friends and despite being able to still enjoy traditional Malay food, Hari Raya isn’t completely Hari Raya if you’re away from home. There’s nothing like being with your family, getting the food ready and waiting for the men to come back from the mosque on the first day of Aidilfitri. Being with my family was what I missed most about being away.
Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir Batin everyone, and safe travels always! – @Anis Ibrahim
Nadiah Lokman in Pakistan
Although the Malaysian community in Karachi was small, Hari Raya in Pakistan was still very joyful. It felt like an extended family celebrating together since the families were all close to one another. The thing I miss the most are my family members and friends back in Malaysia, and not being able to exchange laughter with them.
Farhana Jamil in Sydney, Australia
I was fortunate enough to had the opportunity to further my degree at UNSW, Sydney Australia. For four years I’ve had to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Australia. The thing that I missed the most during the fasting month and during the celebration is the Malaysian food that I was accustomed to as I grew up; family, as well as with the buzz of hari raya songs.
During fasting month, the Islamic society on campus had a daily event, where they would bring food for Iftar session for all the UNSW students. They usually consist of mouth watering Arabic food. During the celebration, all of the Malaysian students in Sydney would go to Sydney’s Malaysian Hall to celebrate the month of Holy Ramadhan. This event will usually be fully packed with Malaysian and Singaporean students anticipating the delicious food and festive celebration. Without this, I think most of the Malaysian students in Sydney would feel homesick.
I just want to shout out to my other fellow Malaysian around the world whom are celebrating Hari Raya overseas. Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir dan Batin. Hang in there! Just couple more years and you’ll be back in no time! – Farhana Jamil
Mariam Johari in Canberra, Australia
Celebrating Hari Raya overseas is never the same as back home in Kuala Lumpur. The atmosphere and the vibe is just not there. However, all those may be experienced when celebrated at the Malaysian High Commision in Canberra with my brother and friends. You feel somewhat at home with all the Malaysian food served, hearing Malaysians talking in Bahasa and most importantly, the sight of those people eating with their hands. Typical of Malaysians. What I miss most about raya is the lontong and the presence of my family. At least the Hari Raya celebration I had in Canberra, I was with my brother, which was great. So Selamat Hari Raya to all. Best wishes from Sydney.
Here’s wishing you Selamat Hari Raya!
I’d like to thank our guests for submitting their stories and photos of Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations overseas. It would be quite a challenge for me as I’m very close to my family and I love Malaysian food so if I was in their shoes, I would do the exact same things they did, especially the food part. So here’s wishing everyone a Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir Batin for any wrongdoings in the past and present. Have a good long holiday too Malaysia!
“Have you ever celebrated Hari Raya Aidilfitri overseas? Did you have the same experience as our guests?
Share with us in the comments below.”