Ever come across ‘annoying’ questions asked about you during Raya?

By Nurul Hanani Hasmin

Syawal is the month that comes after one whole month of fasting during Ramadan. It’s a time where all Muslims around the world celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri or the Eidul Fitr with their family, relatives and friends. Hari Raya is a festive celebration with open houses and family gatherings to attend. Most of the Muslims take this opportunity to visit the houses of their relatives, some of whom they have not met for ages.

As the families and relatives gather and meet up after an absence of a very long time, there are many topics that come up during conversations between them to keep up with each other. A lot of topics are discussed with many sorts of questions thrown back and forth to keep the conversations alive.

Here are some of the questions that are always asked on a visit to relatives’ houses during Hari Raya recently:

1.”Bila nak kahwin?”/When are you going to get married?

When you don’t have the answer for this question, I bet that most of you just fake a laugh or roll your eyes 360 degrees, if that is even humanly possible. When you have reached your 20’s, there is no backing out of this question. It is very common to hear elders asking someone about their relationship status.  Some people do feel offended when they are asked this question.

For those who are married, the question will level up to Bila nak ada anak?/ When are going to have a baby? And if you already have one child, the question will be “when are you going to have the second one?” Whether you just got married 8 months ago or even yesterday, the baby question will be there.

2.”Eh, nampak macam berisi je?”/Have you put on weight?

Usually the older relatives are pretty direct with their questions and statements almost as though they are waiting for you to nod and casually admit that you have gained tons of weight. Even if you don’t gain weight, who can really blame you?

With many relatives and friends to visit, it is easy to get tempted by all the delicious festive dishes like rendang, ketupat, spicy peanut sauce and a variety of sweets, and butter cookies. Who got times to count all the calories that they put in the food when they are right in front of you ready to be eaten? No one should go on a diet during Hari Raya. Plus, the host may feel offended if you are not eating their food. So, might as well eat it and please them.

3. “Dah kerja ke? Sekolah lagi?”/Are you already working or still studying?

This is a common question asked by the elders during Hari Raya. Usually this question is asked by the host so that it is easier for them to count how many children are going to get duit raya. Sometimes, even those who already work, jokingly admit that they are still studying to get the duit raya.

If you are still studying, you’re probably going to hear a lot of questions about your studies, plans after graduating, and not to forget the 30-minute lecture on life lessons. Just remember that they mean well and you just need to accept everything that they share and not be rude. If you already got a job, they might ask you questions like “where do you work?”, “how long have you work there?”, and if you are “lucky”, they might even ask you about your salary.

4. “Banyak buat kuih Raya tahun ni”?/Are there a lot of cookies you baked for this year’s Raya?

In Malaysia, it is a considered a tradition to serve cookies or cakes to the guests who come to visit your house. Whether it is homemade or purchased from outside, you will find a variety of kuih raya when you visit someone’s house.  This question usually leads to loads of compliments on certain cookies followed by sharing of recipes and places to buy those cookies.

No matter how unpleasant the questions may seem to you, it is still a wonderful feeling to be united with our love ones. Even though this is the time when you are being harassed with such annoying questions, it is only because they care for you and are sincerely interested to see your progress in life.

After all, Hari Raya is about getting to know each other and strengthening the bonds among family members.***

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