KUALA LUMPUR: Aidilfitri for Muslims in Malaysia is synonymous with ‘balik kampung, ketupat dan rendang’, but for city dwellers who have no village to go home to, the trend is to spend the holidays elsewhere.
Some might choose to travel out of the country while others simply opt for local tourist destinations such as Genting Highlands or Cameron Highlands. For Farah (not her real name), in her 30s, flying out of a concrete jungle like Kuala Lumpur is the order of the day.
Born in Kepong, Farah and her family would usually go on holiday to avoid the sense of ‘isolation’ that Hari Raya (Aidilfitri) brings for them.
“I don’t have any kampung (village) to go home to. At times I envy the kampung folks who have the simple luxury of preparing ‘lemang’ and stirring ‘dodol’ in a spirit of kinship as portrayed on television.
“I have never experienced that joyous sense of celebration. Come hari raya, and ‘quiet’ will descend on Kuala Lumpur to an extent that you can even dare to lie down on the road because there is almost no traffic.
“If I do stay put in Kuala Lumpur all I see when I go outside are groups of foreigners, mostly Indonesians and Bangladeshis. Our only activity is on raya morning, going to the mosque to pray and after
that, receiving relatives at home. Usually on the second day of raya we don’t hold open house. This year we are travelling out of the country,” she revealed.
Sarah Zulkifli, 28, who was born and lives in Ampang shared that she had never experienced an Aidilfitri where neighbours team up to make the celebration more joyous such as preparing the feast together and visiting one other.
“The only activity we have here is the family gathering on raya morning but after that we would just head to a karaoke centre or go shopping as the city will not be busy then.
“Going on holiday is also on our agenda during hari raya. Kuala Lumpur is the only ‘kampung’ we know, and without any atmosphere of festivity eveything is rather quiet so we would prefer to travel,” she said.
Nevertheless, Sarah said only after getting married three years ago did she get to experience a difference in celebrating Aidilfitri.
“My husband’s family is in Johor Bharu. They live in a housing area but it is still fun to be able to visit one another, have a good laugh and being introduced to family members who we seldom meet.
“Although we will not get to enjoy the pleasure of preparing ‘lemang’ with village folks, there is at least that aura of hari raya compared to the atmosphere in Kuala Lumpur.”
“The experience is very important especially for our children, for them to learn to appreciate the significance of hari raya,” she said.
Meanwhile, Razali Dahri, 23, who lives in Sentul, expects Kuala Lumpur to be very quiet as usual during Aidilfitri, “as though the celebration is only meant for those who have gone back to their respective kampung”.
For him, Aidilfitri was almost like any ordinary day where he and his siblings would watch television after returning from performing the solat raya.
“On raya night we usually watch movies till late at night. On the second day we will go for a holiday.”
“This year I am going to Janda baik for two days with my parents as my sister and brother will be celebrating raya with their respective in-laws,” he said.- BERNAMA