Each of us has a special memory of a festival which we celebrate. The memory can come from any stage of our life, and like a piece of favorite jewellery, it is always bright and meaningful, at least in our eyes. Here, I would like to share my special memory of Eid or Hari Raya as it is known in Malay. Best wishes for a Joyous Eid:
Anticipation is a powerful feeling. As a child celebrating Hari Raya in my kampung or neighborhood, the eve of Hari Raya was an equally important day as the first day of Raya itself.
Each family stayed up late to cook food for the next day. There were noise, activity and lights in every garden. In our garden, near the jambu tree, a fire was lit, and over it, my grandmother stirred a boiling pot of ketupat (rice dumplings). From our neighbor’s yard, the aroma of chicken curry wafted from their pot and fire.
The children had put on new pajamas bought especially for Raya. The younger children would light up the sparklers, while the older ones created their own din with firecrackers.
People strolled around the kampung greeting each other, or just to enjoy the atmosphere. It was like a fairyland to me, and I did not want to go to sleep, hoping that the night would metamorphose into the next day, Hari Raya itself. But, or course, I did eventually fall asleep, waking up on Raya morning to all the cakes, cookies and all the other fun things that came along with it.
But somehow, the night before, with all the easy fellowship, the aromas and the glow of the fires, cast a special magic for me, and will always be a wonderful memory of Hari Raya that I carry within me wherever I go.
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