“Balik kampung” tradition to celebrate Aidil Fitri

By Alya Nadiah

When talking about Aidil Fitri, most people who live in towns or cities away from their villages, get very excited about going back to their kampung to meet their beloved grandparents, relatives, neighbour and others, to celebrate this once-a-year major occasion with them.

What’s exciting about the celebration is that all our relatives, cousins, siblings, grandparents and family members gather at our kampung for the occasion. This is the time when we cook together, clean the house and make preparations for guests to celebrate our achievement following the end of Ramadan. What’s even more exciting is the opportunity to renew the bonds between family members. There’s a lot to catch up with one another while eating, playing games, or even joining kids to play fireworks.

People celebrate Aidil Fitri wearing new clothes – baju kurung for females, and baju Melayu for males. It is a sunnah to wear nice clothes during the first day of Raya, so don’t forget a few sunnah of Rasullulah on the first day, which are as follows:

  1. Take a shower in the morning of Aidil Fitri with a niyah of mandi sunat hari raya
  2. Eat something before you go for Aidilfitri prayer.
  3. Wear nice or new clothes.
  4. Walk to the mosque.
  5. Have fun while celebrating Aidilfitri.

As for me, what’s interesting about celebrating  at my kampung is when all my cousins gather at our hometown. Usually my grandmother will cook rendang for the whole family together with satay and ketupat for the main dish.

It has been a tradition in my family since five years ago that every night before Raya, my aunties, uncles and cousins will gather at the living room, playing games instead of fireworks.  Fireworks no longer give us the excitement compared to the days when we were kids. Every year we play a new game, such as Monopoly, cards or even chess, and proceed with watching scary movie at night before bedtime.

The Aidil Fitri celebration in Islam literally means a celebration marking the end of one month of fasting for Muslims, so on the first day of Syawal, it is not encouraged for Muslims to fast. People would go for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri prayers in the morning, however, before going out to the mosque for prayer, they are encouraged to eat something, so as to close any assumption that people can fast on the first day of Raya.

After that they will have a forgiving session – asking for forgiveness from everyone with a sincere heart, if you have done wrong to people around you, intentionally or unintentionally. Visiting neighbours is a also a practice. Other relatives and friends would ask about how they are doing, whether they are celebrating Aidil Fitri in a good health. One of the traditions of Aidil Fitri is to visit the graveyard of our late parents or relatives who have passed away.

However, in our joy of celebrating Aidil Fitri, some people experience the occasion feeling  sorrow. Let’s not forget about our brothers and sisters in Syria and Palestine who are currently thinking of their dead family members instead of the colour or brand new clothes to wear.

Same thing goes to people who just lost their grandparents or family members whom they love so much that it wouldn’t feel the same to celebrate Aidil Fitri without them. Let’s not forget those people who serve in the defence and maintaining of security of our country, such as soldiers and policemen, or those in the critical services like hospitals and clinics or fire department, who do not get a chance to go on holiday for Aidil Fitri.

It is important to realise that in celebrating Aidil Fitri and enjoying the occasion, some people might not be so fortunate to even have enough money to buy new clothes for their children or afford to buy food.

So, let’s celebrate Aidil Fitri with simplicity or in moderation this year, but don’t forget to have fun!

I wish everyone Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or Eid Mubarak. I like to take this opportunity to ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing I have done, intentionally or unintentionally, to anyone. I hope we will be able to celebrate this year’s occasion in good health.***

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