Expecting a dreary Aidilfitri

Some foresee the upcoming celebration as a sombre occasion due to the Covid-19 pandemic and interstate travel ban

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

MUSLIMS worldwide will be welcoming Aidilfitri in less than two weeks — marking the end of Ramadhan where they celebrate the completion of a month-long of fasting.

In Malaysia, Aidilfitri is celebrated extravagantly, not just by Muslims, but Malaysians from all walks of life.

However, some families foresee this year’s celebration to be a sombre occasion rather than a festive one.

Amina Ahmad said in previous years, Aidilfitri shopping means loading up on groceries and traditional Hari Raya clothes.

“With the current situation where there are Covid-19 pandemic and movement restriction, this year’s Aidilfitri will just be another day for us since we will all be at home,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

Besides restricted movements due to the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), she had to cut expenses mainly on food and clothes.

Previously, she would buy more than two pairs of “baju raya” because of all the places her family would visit during the festive season.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restriction on interstate travel, shopping for ‘baju raya’ might not be on the shopping to-do list for some Muslim families

“We would normally start to stock up on food and snacks for guests, but that is not the case this time around.

“Our priority now is only the essentials, like spending money on food for breaking fast and not really thinking ahead for Hari Raya,” she said.

Amina added that she is preparing for any uncertainties in the current situation and trying to minimise spending.

She is content with the prospect of not celebrating in her hometown as her biggest concern is her family, relatives and the health of others.

“This is what we have to face and our actions would affect other people. I do not want to be the cause of someone else’s suffering.

“I feel fine because I am with my family. There are people who are alone somewhere, away from their families and cannot be with their loved ones to spend such a meaningful occasion with,” she added.

As for Universiti Kuala Lumpur senior lecturer Dr Alisa Ibrahim, Aidilfitri shopping is not in her to-do list this year partly due to the CMCO.

“I prefer to make earlier preparations and I cannot do that with the MCO, and now CMCO.

“Besides, my children have all grown up, so Hari Raya for them is not about new clothes anymore,” she said.

To reduce her spending, Alisa bought only one set of Aidilfitri attire for her entire family from e-commerce platform Shopee, instead of the usual two sets.

Her mood for the upcoming festive season has been dismal, especially with the thought of not being able to return to her hometown.

“I am very sad. It would not be the same without exchanging forgiveness on the first day of Syawal and convoying with the family to visit relatives,” she said.

Alisa added that certain family food traditions would not be fulfilled as they are meant to be cooked and prepared in her hometown, particularly a delicacy called “burasak” which is rice.

“It is rice cooked with coconut milk packed inside a banana leaf pouch and we eat it with gulai asam ikan parang.

“This is my third Hari Raya in Malaysia after coming back from the UK and I am craving for all the traditional Hari Raya food,” she added.

For Ainul Mardhiah Ahmad Zubir, she is not in the mood for Hari Raya shopping due to the interstate travelling restrictions.

“For the time being, my family is not really into shopping unless the government allows us to travel back to our hometown.

“I do not feel the Aidilfitri atmosphere because it should all be about the extended family getting together,” she told TMR.

However, despite missing family traditions and foods from her hometown, she is sanguine about the situation.

“I will not have to spend much this time around as there is less ‘duit raya’ to hand out,” she joked.