From Peeling Onions To Weaving Ketupats, M'sians Share How They're Raya Prepping This Year

Hopefully we have enough time this year to prepare for Raya, unlike last year. :P

Cover image via Fifi Natasha (Provided to SAYS) & Shahid (Provided to SAYS)

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Raya Ramadan hampir tiba! How are your preparations coming along?

Remember last year's tiba-tiba Raya? :P It was a memorable celebration for sure, and this year we can't help but anticipate Aildilfitri as Ramadan approaches. While we fast during the holy month, we can also look ahead knowing that a grand, fun-filled celebration with our loved ones awaits us.

However, there's always much to plan before the fasting month ends. And while celebrating Raya is already exciting, some of the best memories are made when we band together and plan the festivities together. <3  

In collaboration with McDonald's, we asked Malaysians to share how they're preparing for Raya during Ramadan this year!

Here's what they said:

1. "Like always, me and my siblings are gonna head to Jalan TAR to get our baju Raya"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via New Straits Times

"Of course, our outfits are usually matchy-matchy, and if we're lucky, the boutique we head to will have the same colour for different types of baju. Though most of the time, we'd be completely spent by the end of the day since we're fasting."

- Sarah, 20

2. "We will make ketupat from scratch by weaving the coconut leaves together"

"Since we only weave the leaves once a year, we always need to watch a tutorial while doing it. We would usually anyam them during the last two weeks of Ramadan, and sometimes we'd compete against each other to see who would make the most. I am usually the most useless and will end up having one successful ketupat weaved. The rest of the ketupats would either have too many holes or not have its iconic diamond shape.

"We would fill the ketupat leaves with uncooked rice (about one third) and let it boil for many hours. We would make lots of ketupat and keep them in the fridge. They usually last about a month."

- Shahid, 26

3. "In the past, my late uncle took charge of planning our Raya celebration, but this year, my mum is in charge"

"My late uncle would include an open day for orphans and underprivileged members of the community. This year, my mother has taken the responsibility of planning our itinerary for the festivities and menu, even arranging for caterers. We've discussed the theme for this year's Raya, purchased new clothing, and booked flights for everyone, as we'll be staying in Sarawak for more than a week.

"We're also excited to plan some fun family activities. As Raya is a significant time for our family to come together, we recognise the importance of preparing well in advance."

- Nadia, 30

4. "I have a veryyy long list of chores I need to do during Ramadan, and it involves cleaning up my ancestral home that hasn't been occupied for a year"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via SAYS

"First off, I need to repair parts of the wooden house that's been infested with termites, and fix the flickering lights. Then comes decorations, where I place candles on the fence so the kids can see while playing firecrackers at night. I prepare some games we play with the family, lately it's been card games such as daun terup, Uno, and The Malaysian Dream. Plus, we must have extra mattresses and toto for everyone to sleep on.

"I also need to buy flowers before we visit our loved ones' graves. Then there's the usual planning of what to cook this year, my specialty is either pasta or rendang. And, accommodating those last-minute requests from single family members to hitch a ride back to the village."

- Fatin Nadiah, 28

5. "On the final week of fasting, the whole family works in teams to get everything ready"

"We will usually start with our shopping mania. The grandkids will take the grandparents' measurements, and go baju Raya shopping. The uncles and aunties are always on grocery-shopping duty to ensure we have enough cooking ingredients for our delicious Raya dishes.

"The toughest task of them all would be... onion peeling, since there's lots of onions and a lot of crying. On the last day of puasa, my grandmother and mother will cook the dishes, while the rest will help clean the house, put up the curtains, and run for any emergency errands, which is usually stocking up on ice cubes or last-minute kuih Raya."

- Fifi Natasha, 29

6. "The eve of Raya Aidilfitri has always been the only time of the year when I'm in the kitchen"

Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via Vecteezy

"I always avoid the kitchen and consider myself the least talented among my sisters when it comes to cooking. Since I was a child, my mother will make sure all her daughters (I have two other sisters) come together to prepare all the Raya food. My mum is a great cook, and she always nagged us about ensuring this tradition goes on, especially when all her daughters are workaholics (and tend to order food deliveries whenever we can).

"I've always been in charge of the beef rendang for many years. It was tough to cook but most of my guests complimented my rendang. But if you asked me to cook them again for any other occasion, I can assure you that I'm clueless about the recipe. All I remember is my mum's shouting and nagging and asking me to 'put this, put that' in the background during my once-a-year cooking feast.

"Nevertheless, Raya is a fruitful occasion for me and my family. That is the time when we will dress up in matching colours, ask for each other's forgiveness, and catch up on the latest family gossip, as most of us are constantly busy with our lives."

- Aamelia Termizi, 34

7. "We always make our own kuih Raya, such as peanut butter cookies and jam tarts"

"For our peanut butter cookies, my mum will make the batter, and make us roll them into round shapes, and dab a lil' egg yolk on top before adding it to the tray to be baked. And for our pineapple tarts, we'd make two types. One of them is the flower-shaped ones with a ball of pineapple jam in the middle, while the other is a ball of pineapple jam enveloped in batter, and we'd used a tiny pair of scissors to 'sculpt' the tart to make it look like a pineapple. 

"Our mum would always tell us to make them early in the morning, but we'd procrastinate and make them in the evening, close to buka puasa. By the time they were freshly baked, the smell would entice us during Maghrib. It was a miracle we didn't gobble them all up before Raya came along." 

- Qistina, 25

With Ramadan nearly upon us, it won't be long before we have to start preparing for Raya too. So, #JanganTungguLamaLama and get started as soon as you can!

This year, McDonald's wants to encourage everyone to #AdakanMasa with their loved ones during this blessed month.

Making time for your family and friends helps you become closer to one another. It can be easy to forget that a little effort goes a long way, and part of that effort involves spending the time we have doing the simplest things together.

This is a timely reminder for everyone, and it also happens to be the key message in McDonald's Ramadan short film, #JanganTungguLamaLama!

Watch Mekdi's Ramadan ad here:

The story revolves around the titular character, Ali, who tries to ensure he's better prepared for Ramadan this year. From bringing his father to the masjid for tarawih prayers to moreh with his besties, he starts doing everything he missed out on last year's Ramadan.

We should all take a page from Ali's book and prioritise the small things that will make a difference to our loved ones before it is too late. As the song in the film goes, 'Jangan tunggu lama-lama, nanti lama-lama, kita habis puasa'. :')

And of course, as with every Raya season, McDonald's most coveted seasonal menu item, the Foldover, is making a comeback along with some other delectable meals and treats!

In case you haven't noticed, the Chicken and Beef Foldovers are back on the menu y'all! Confirm all Malaysians have been waiting all year for this meal to come back, so now's your chance to finally buka puasa with some warm and toasty Foldovers!

Whichever choice of protein you decide on, you can once again bite into two succulent patties, complemented by crispy lettuce, onion, tomato, and garlic mayo, all wrapped in a delicious flatbread.

That's not all you can enjoy, as their Ramadan menu lineup also includes Nasi Lemak with Creamy Butter Chicken, and sweet desserts such as Caramel Cream Cheese Pie and Mango McFlurry. Are you salivating yet? :D

Creamy, savoury, and oh-so-yummy, the Malaysian-style creamy butter chicken is sure to be a crowd pleaser. And juicy mangos combined with McDonald's McFlurry? Mmm, yes, please! Both perfect for tucking into after a day of fasting, hehe.

Psst, if you head to McDonald's Drive-Thru during Ramadan, you'll be met with a 'flashy' surprise ;)

You'll find Drive-Thrus at these 12 McDonald’s outlets decked out in festive lights, to meriahkan lagi your drive-thru experience!

Here's where you can find them:

Central area
- McDonald's Danau Kota Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Pantai Sentral Park Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Bangi Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Putrajaya Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Shah Alam S3 Drive-Thru

Southern area
- McDonald's Tampin Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Muar Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Educity Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Kuantan Drive-Thru

Northern area
- McDonald's Amanjaya Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Kangar Drive-Thru
- McDonald's Kubang Kerian Drive-Thru

McDonald's Foldovers and other yummy Ramadan menu items are now available! Visit your nearest McDonald's Drive-Thru or head over to their website to order them today.

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