This year’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri is being celebrated with a new norm around the world. What was once a hectic and loud festive season, is now mellow and subtle.
And it was no different for my family.
It felt like yesterday when I wrote of my experience observing Ramadan during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. My message was despite hardships and obstacles fasting throughout MCO, we would only be stronger and survive this together.
When the government introduced the Conditional Movement Control Order we thought we would have a chance to celebrate Aidilfitri in our hometowns. But only those with valid excuses and police permits are allowed to cross state borders.
Fortunately, our family matriarch – my grandmother – lives in the same state. With the government allowing 20 people to visit on the first day of Raya, we were relieved.
Although it may appear we were selfish by celebrating while others couldn’t be with their loved ones, I assure you it is far from the truth.
My immediate family comprises of 10 people.
This morning, we met my aunt and grandmother who live in Bukit Beruntung. We bought a 500ml hand sanitizer and face masks that we used before starting our journey and at my grandmother’s home.
We observed the one-meter distancing rule at all times. There were no handshakes or kisses on the cheeks. Even our Raya photos this year were unique. We were cautious but most importantly we planned our Raya so we could be as safe as possible.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri starts with a Sunnah prayer, an optional or supererogatory prayer that can be done any time before our Zohor prayers. This year, we prayed at our own homes before heading to Bukit Beruntung in four cars.
After our meal, we took photographs and sent some food to a nearby orphanage. We ended our visit by noon and went home.
It was an emotional day because the celebration differed from previous years. This year, it is not the Imam but the men of the family leading the prayers.
The MCO also taught us was to be more patient with one another. We learn to be more caring and passionate. We overcame our hardships together.
To those who are less fortunate, I pray that you will be stronger. Just remember, sometimes we fall but we must get back up.
To those who tried to return to their hometowns and were told to turn back, remember, there are alternatives to celebrate Aidilfitri together. We have done it before, and we can do it again.
For the lucky ones that are celebrating at their parents’ and grandparents’ houses, don’t display too many of your photos. Remember those who cannot be with their loved ones.
Today, we are reminded of the times we have gleefully celebrated Hari Raya without thinking about others. Surely, this experience is a test from God for all of us.
I started my article a month ago with a message and I end this piece with the hope we will come out of this challenge stronger.