Hari Raya away from home
1 month ago, 06-Jun-2020
Mokhtar (seated second right) with his family during a visit to his mothers house in Kampung Bakam.
GOING back to their hometowns to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri is an abiding tradition of the Muslim community.
Those working outside their birthplace will head home for the reverent season of Syawal to celebrate the end of Ramadan (fasting month) with loved ones and friends.
Rosni (back second right) with elder brother Abdul Azaman (back left), youngest sister Norsuvania (front second right) and other family members on the first day of Raya at her residence in Dengkil, Selangor.
The daily dawn-to-dusk fasting and the subsequent breaking of fast culminate in Hari Raya Puasa the Day of Celebration marked by a victory of self-restraint and a period of sober repentance amidst an atmosphere of gracious merriment.
Some return home a few days earlier, while others a week ahead to spend quality time with family, particularly their aged parents, as well as to prepare for the celebration.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Muslims were unable to keep to their time-hallowed tradition of balik kampung a massive exodus back to the village to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year.
Under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), inter-state travel and mass gatherings are not allowed, while celebrating households have to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) such as maintaining social distancing and avoiding clusters of activities to prevent more infections.
No balik kampung
Danial plays with sparklers in the house compound.
For three Miri siblings living in Selangor, they have always booked flights early so as not to miss celebrating with their parents and family members at home.
Rosni Mahadi said she bought her KL-Miri return tickets early last year.
My family and I were supposed to go back to Miri a week before the celebration but couldnt make the trip as planned due to the outbreak.
I decided to cancel the flight following the lockdown in March for the safety of my family, the mother of two added.
Danial kisses his fathers hand as a mark of respect after performing Raya prayers at home.
Like other Sarawakians living in the peninsula, she felt sad she couldnt come back to Sarawak for the celebration this year.
It was the first time she and her family were holding Hari Raya in Selangor where they have been living for more than 10 years.
Rosni said what she missed most on the first day of the celebration were the delicacies prepared by her mother and asking for forgiveness from the elders after Raya prayers.
Hari Raya in our own home in Selangor during CMCO was really different. And Im grateful to have my elder brother and youngest sister here to celebrate with me.
A big thank to the government for allowing family members to visit on the first day. Like the other families, were staying in the same area.
Reporter Mohamad Norhadie Sahari and his wife accepted the new norm of celebrating Hari Raya this year in their own home in Permyjaya area, Miri, although their hearts and thoughts were with their loved ones in their hometown Kuching.
Mokhtar observed the SOP by placing hand sanitiser near the entrance of his house.
During the CMCO, inter-state travelling and balik kampung are not permitted. We accept that but we do miss celebrating with families and friends back home, he said.
Mohamad Norhadie acknowledged that the government was doing its best to prevent Covid-19 from spreading to other areas, adding, We should share the responsibility by adhering to the CMCO.
For Mohamad Norhadie, the celebration wasnt as merry as it would have been in Kuching but he was happy he had done his best to make Hari Raya lively for the family, especially his eight-year-old son Nurhariz Danial.
They decorated the house together with colourful lighting in the way Danial loved.
Although we couldnt go back to Kuching this year, my son wanted our house to be decorated beautifully with colourful lighting like his grandmothers in the village.
He also asked his mother to bake biscuits and his favourite festive delicacies, Mohamad Norhadie said.
The family wore new clothes after Raya prayers at home and video-called to extend festive greetings to loved ones in Kuching.
Mohamad Norhadie also gave his son duit raya for fulfilling his religious obligations during Ramadan.
Standard operating procedures
Darul Khairat Mosque Bakam chairman Mokhtar Ree said the Hari Raya celebration this year was different because of the Health Ministrys SOP.
After Raya prayers at home in Kampung Bakam, he visited his mother living next door to pay his respects.
On the Covid-19 pandemic, he said during the outbreak people started paying attention to wearing face masks in public and practising personal hygiene such as hand sanitisation as well as social distancing.
As the government only allowed for family visits on the first day, I kept reminding myself and my family to adhere to the SOP.
Before entering the homes of his mother and his siblings, he saw to it that his family sanitised their hands, put on face masks, and maintained social distancing while sharing the festive joy with close family members.
The Raya atmosphere in the kampung was rather quiet as there was no open house and families, especially the children, couldnt go visiting like in past Raya.
Even so, it was good to see the people responding positively to the governments call for social distancing to prevent chain infection, Mokhtar said.
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