Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a holiday which is celebrated in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Brunei, and celebrates the end of Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan, fasting is done between dawn and dusk and on this day, Muslims all over the region can end their fast and enjoy fellowship with one another, seek forgiveness of each other and enjoy a feast that is resplendent with food. This holiday falls on the first day of the tenth month of the Islamic calendar.
History of Hari Raya Aidilfitri
The origin of this holiday can be traced all the way back to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He began this festival after he migrated to Mecca. In the region, the Muslim religion was firmly established by the 15th century. Hari Raya Aidilfitri has been celebrated since that time.
Usually, this holiday falls on a day which is separate from other holidays, but that wasn’t the case in 1996, 1997 and 1998. This is when this holiday fell during the same week as Chinese New Year. This resulted in two large celebrations during those years – one for the Chinese community and one for the Muslim community. As a result, the Malaysian portmanteau Kongsi Raya was developed. For convenience, many Malaysians celebrate Kongsi Raya, when it occurs, instead of celebrating two distinct holidays at the same time.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri Customs & Traditions
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is one of the most important holidays to be celebrated by Muslims in the region. It is a time when many people, both Muslims, and non-Muslims, drive or fly home so they can spend the next couple of days with their family. It is often a time when friends and family seek forgiveness from each other for their transgressions. During this time, many Muslims will visit ancestor’s graves, say prayers at the mosque, and spend time with family. It is often common to give food to the poor on this day.
There are not only many festivals during this holiday, but there is also a feast that every family enjoys as a celebration for the end of fasting. Some of the foods that can be found at this feast include Beef Rendang, Sambal, white rice, Sayur lodeh, ktupat, ondeh-ondeh, putu piring, grated sweet coconut and kueh cakes.
During the holiday, people used to decorate their homes with small lamps that were kerosene powered. These lamps were called lampu coloks. However, in recent times, more and more people are putting these aside and instead, are using decorative electric lights.