After two years of celebrating Hari Raya apart from dearest family, the time has come again for Malaysian Muslims to make their pilgrimage to their ancestral homes and commemorate the first Hari Raya post-lockdown with loved ones. Local fashion designers and stars chime in to share what it means to again celebrate the occasion with their families.
Dr Jezamine Lim
Hari Raya 2022 for Dr Jezamine Lim includes preparation for the communities that she and her husband Harith Iskander hold close to their hearts. As the month of Ramadan progresses, The Hope Branch has been trying to spread some festive cheer amongst its patrons by including baju Raya, duit raya as well as fresh vegetables and meats. When Hari Raya was celebrated in lockdown, the Lim-Iskander household’s Raya was a smaller occasion than usual, but still complete with Hari Raya decor and meals.
“Hari Raya to me is always a big moment because it signifies the end of Ramadan and fasting. The month of fasting is always challenging as well as rewarding because life still carries on as usual – so the Raya celebrations are always meaningful. Even more so for the kids – for them, it’s all about the new baju Raya and the duit Raya and the fireworks! They grow up so fast that almost nothing lasts longer than 6 months.”
For this celebrity chef, Raya has always meant this: forgiveness, family and food. But for the past two years, with lockdown rules in place, Ili Sulaiman found that Zoom calls just don’t cut it. “This year is very special because it’s the first year we are celebrating Raya with family and friends as a family of three. I welcomed my baby boy in March so its his first Raya post-pandemic so we are really looking forward to celebrating with close family and friends but being as careful and responsible as we can. I can foresee many emotions and some tears of happiness and relief. Three years of not asking for forgiveness from the elders plus new additions to the family and having the whole family together again is really going to make 2022 Raya an epic one. This Raya is definitely going to be one for the books.”
But what does this chef look forward to, gastronomically speaking? “Lontong, sambal sotong, rendang kambing (new recipe I am trying this year) and all the lemang and ketupat.”
View this post on Instagram
Hari Raya 2022 is an extra special occasion for everyone, including this celebrated fashion designer. “It’s been a quiet couple of years since the start of the pandemic. I’m just grateful that I get to go home and spend quality time with my brother and mother. The night before Raya would be me watching my mother make her amazing kuah kacang. I’m not much of a cook, so I’m usually on dishwashing duty.”
Like many Muslim households this Raya, the dining table will always be brimming with traditional delicacies and festive sweets. “My favourite raya food is lontong and I will never say no to lemang paired with very spicy dendeng!”
Afiq Mohamed of Afiq M
View this post on Instagram
Spending Hari Raya has always been about spending time with family. “As we get older, I realise time with family and friends is precious. I lost a few beloved family members over the past two years [so now] I just take time to pause, rest and reset with my family. Hari Raya 2022 is an occasion to remember, one that’s filled with happiness and gratitude.”
Qayyum Iskandar Sulaiman of Kree
For every fashion designer, Hari Raya is a time when they really kick into high gear. For Qayyum, who designs at the local fashion label Kree, Raya is a period where he takes time to truly wind down before the next season begins. During the pandemic, this designer finds that he spends more time in the kitchen, baking classic Raya cookies.
When speaking of his family tradition, Qayyum shares this: “We usually have a cookout for family and friends. But this year, we are very excited, prepping for our very first colour-coordinated Raya in our entire life.”
Featured image credit: Dr. Jezamine Lim; Hero image credit: Ili Sulaiman