Hari Raya is around the corner and since most of us cannot attend an open house or balik kampung this year, we decided to ask our colleagues to clear up common misconceptions
Here are 11 questions answered by our colleagues at SAYS.
1. Do I really have to wear green on Hari Raya?
"Nope. There is no specific colour that we have to or should wear during the Hari Raya celebration.
"It is probably associated with green because of lemang and ketupat, I think. Actually, it is a sunnah (social and legal custom) in Islam to wear the best-est clothes that we have, not necessarily new or anything, as long as you feel that it's your best.
"In our Raya songs, they always say 'warna-warni Hari Raya' (colourful Hari Raya), so just wear whatever colour you have lah. Haha."
- Ashiqin Rosselly
2. Only people who are married must give duit raya to children ke?
"Giving duit raya is a sincere act that must come from the heart.
"I still remember when I was single and got my first job, I think I gave about 10 packets of duit raya to my 10 nephews and nieces. So, it's not only people who are married who must give duit raya to children. If you are single and have a job, you also must give duit raya to them.
"Oh, one more thing. I always do a trick when I give duit raya to children. I will prepare extra packets of duit raya and make them choose. So in the packets of duit raya, I will insert RM50, RM20, RM10, RM5, and RM1. It makes them think and choose wisely. It's fun to watch their reactions."
- Akmal Redzwan
3. What is the appropriate amount of duit raya that I should give? Is there unspoken etiquette behind it?
"Traditionally, duit raya is considered a must, particularly given to children, and sometimes even for unmarried adults as gifts during the Hari Raya celebration.
"But it depends whether they are sincere while giving out duit raya. As long as it comes from their hearts, it is okay.
"On the amount, usually, people give about RM20 and above to students, does not matter if they are school students or university students, because they have to use more money than children.
"Also, others feel that as long as they have no jobs, they are entitled to be given duit raya."
- Nany Rahman
4. Do I have to bring gifts when I attend an open house?
"I have never ever brought a gift to an open house before. Hahaha!
"But some people I think just bring extra food. Maybe cakes or kuih. But that one also not that many people do, I think."
Writer: So it's pretty common for people to come empty-handed?
"Yaaa, in my experience at least. Even my close relatives never bring food, and the same for my family as well. We don't generally do that.
"We just bring ourselves, eat, chit-chat, and leave. Older people will give younger kids duit raya, of course."
- Ihsan Ihsani
5. Is there something every Muslim must or is encouraged to do during Hari Raya?
"Up until now, my friends keep asking me why I continue fasting even after Ramadan? So there is this thing called 'Fasting Six Days of Syawal'. It is recommended for Muslims to fast six days of Syawal. And in this, there is a great virtue and an immense reward.
"But you cannot fast on the first day of Syawal. It's haram.
"Syawal is the month of Hari Raya in Islam; Ramadan is the fasting month."
- Razaleigh Zain
6. Can I wear shorts when I visit an open house?
"Yes, you can wear shorts during Hari Raya visits. But for me, if it's possible don't wear skirts or pants that are too short. And it is better if it's not too above your knees.
"As long as you wear proper attire, then I think it's okay."
- Dania Hamdan
7. Is there any 'pantang' during Hari Raya?
"Okay, so actually this one not just during Hari Raya. It applies anytime and anywhere. I don't believe this, but just sharing. Haha!
"Since it's Raya so I think people can relate. So when you're eating, usually that kind of food like nasi or anything that uses a plate, you're not allowed to switch seats. Like bangun and tukar tempat makan (get up and change seats while eating).
"So the myth is that when you do that, you'll get married a couple of times. Maybe it's polygamy or you'll keep changing partners, I can't be sure. But not f--kboi lah. People tend to say like, "Oi, nanti kahwin ramai" (Hey, you will marry multiple times in the future) when they see you switch seats.
"I percaya (believe) the myth in the past, and sometimes I feel weird when I change seats while eating. Haha!"- Amin Rashidi
8. Must family members all wear the same colour like how they sometimes do at weddings? Do you really have to wear new clothes on Hari Raya?
"It's not necessary to wear the same colour for baju raya among family, it's basically just to make it look nice in photos.
"And it is mostly encouraged to wear something new on the first day of Hari Raya according to Islam — or the clothes you think it is the best — but best or new doesn't mean it has to be expensive la. As long as you love it! :)"
- Nasha Nazari
9. What is your day like on the first day of Hari Raya?
"Wake up, mandi (shower). During Hari Raya Aidilfitri, it's encouraged to eat before going to the mosque. This is different from Raya Aidiladha where you eat after going to the mosque.
"You have to pay zakat before the sun sets on the first day of Raya. A lot of people pay during Ramadan, but the best time in Islam is to do it is on the last day of Ramadan — after subuh prayers and before Hari Raya prayers."
"After that, we sometimes visit the graves of our deceased family members. We pray at the grave and clean it up a bit. Then we go home and salam our family, apologise for all our wrongdoings, usually very emotional lol. Then we continue to party!"
Writer: Isn't it very tiring to go to a mosque, then visit graves of deceased family members and clean up the area all on the first day of Hari Raya?
"It's usually really quick. The prayers aren't that long, so is the grave visit. Usually, when we're back home, it's still in the morning.
"Prayers are from 8am to 8.30am. Usually, it's done in half an hour to 45 mins. Then, the grave visit sekejap je (for a while), recite a few things and all. Most of the time, the grave is really close to the place we stay.
"For example, I used to visit grandpa's grave, right? And his grave is near my grandparent's house. And that's where we celebrate the first day of Raya anyway."
- Arisha Rozaidee
10. Is there any Hari Raya custom that is not related to Islam and is unique to Malaysians?
"I think the night before Raya, we all akan tengok (will watch) movies at home. TV3 mostly akan keluarkan (will show) old old movies during Raya, whether it's a local or international movie. But most of the time, it's local lah. So we will watch it together with family members and relatives.
"Other than that, when I was younger on Hari Raya's eve, people will start lawan mercun (fight with firecrackers). Main meriam (play a canon-like firework). We will fight with people from the kampung nearby to see who's the loudest. Hahaha!"
- Zaidi Aziz
11. Do Muslims also get fed up of listening to festive songs in the days leading up to Hari Raya?
"Not for me! I'm actually that annoying person who loves cranking up those Raya tunes on the days leading up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and of course, on the day itself.
"My family probably hates me for it. XD But hey, Raya only comes round once a year, gotta enjoy those nostalgic songs during the season, right?"
- Shiffa Abdul Aziz