Hari Raya Puasa marks the end of the fasting month for all our Muslim friends. It is a day filled with visiting, celebrations, and good food. While most people associate this holiday with the Geylang Serai Bazaar, there is so much more to learn about this festival! Although there will be no house-visiting or religious gatherings allowed due to the Circuit Breaker this year, there is always a chance that you will be invited to one of these Hari Raya open houses in the future, and you definitely want to be prepared when the time comes! So, here are 13 Hari Raya greetings, etiquettes, and facts to help you understand Hari Raya better.
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1. Hari Raya Puasa vs. Hari Raya Haji
First and foremost, what is the difference between these two festivals? Hari Raya Puasa takes place right after Ramadan (the fasting month) and it falls on 24th May this year. This celebration lasts for 30 days where Muslims will visit the mosques, decorate their houses, wear new clothes, and invite their friends over to enjoy delicious food. On the other hand, Hari Raya Haji falls on 31st July this year, 70 days after Ramadan and it only lasts for 4 days. This holiday marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Puasa translates to fasting while Haji means pilgrim to Mecca.
Recommended Practices for the guests
2. Selamat Hari Raya
This is the most common greeting which literally means Happy Hari Raya. “Hari Raya” translates to a day of celebrations. The Muslims celebrate this day as it symbolises purification and their success in practising self-discipline and fasting in the month of Ramadan. While you may not be able to visit your Muslim friends this festive season, sending them a simple greeting message like this will mean a lot too!
3. Eid Mubarak
Another greeting that you can use to greet your Muslim friends on Hari Raya is “Eid Mubarak”. This phrase has the same meaning as Selamat Hari Raya, except that it is an Arabic term. Did you know that Arabic is the language of Islam and the Qur’an is written in Arabic too? Many Muslims try to learn Arabic so as to gain a better understanding when they read the Qur’an.
4. Maaf Zahir dan Batin
This less-heard phrase translates to “I seek forgiveness from you”. The Muslims ask for forgiveness from their friends and family on Hari Raya for all their wrongdoings because this festival is also a time of forgiveness. To forgive and to move forward to a new start, that is a good practice that we can all learn. For family members, the children will salam their parents, asking for forgiveness, taking turns, from the eldest sibling to the youngest.
5. Greeting gestures
When you visit your Muslim friends, you can greet them politely with a handshake by grasping their hands with both of your hands. Following which, bring your right hand back and place it over your heart to signify that you are greeting them from your heart. However, refrain from offering a handshake to someone of the opposite gender as Muslims are very particular about physical contact across genders.
Hari Raya is a religious holiday and thus, there is no such thing as taboo and superstitions. Hence, you do not need to worry so much about wearing the wrong colour or scrambling through your wardrobe to find the most auspicious colours to wear. The only thing you have to note is to dress modestly as it may be seen as disrespectful if you wear anything too revealing. Advice from us? It’s a festival after all so adding some bright colours will definitely help to make the celebration even more vibrant!
It is not necessary to bring gifts with you when you visit your Muslim friends on Hari Raya, neither do you need to prepare green packets as they are not expected from non-Muslims. However, if you have the habit of bringing some gifts with you for house visits, any food or drinks will be great for the celebration. But do make sure you check that everything you have prepared is Halal-certified. If you want to add in even more fun, you can prepare some green packets for the children too!
8. Etiquettes at the dining table
Rendang, ketupat, kueh lapis, dodol and the list goes on! These are all the common, delicious traditional Hari Raya foods you may come across at your house visit. Before you rush to enjoy all the food prepared by your host, do not forget to wash your hands, and receive or pass food with your right hand as the left hand is considered to be unclean for Muslims. At dinner tables, you may see a pot filled with water, also known as teko cuci tangan. Don’t drink from it as it is meant for guests to wash their hands at the dining tables.
Recommended Practices for the Muslims during Hari Raya (Sunnah)
9. Take a shower
It is suggested that our Muslim friends do a thorough cleaning session by taking a bath, cutting their nails, and putting on their best perfume (Muslim men use Attar, a special non-alcoholic fragrance) before going for the Eid prayers. This is because hygiene is especially important to them and it also gives them a great start to the Eid prayer and house visiting.
10. Eat an odd number of dates
Muslims are encouraged to eat something before they leave for Eid prayer. Interestingly, one of the practices is to eat some dates. It should not be just any number of dates, but an odd number of dates.
11. Dress up in the best clothes
While there is no dress code for their guests, the Muslims will usually put on their best clothes and wear a new garment. This is because their Prophet Muhammad did the same when he had gone for Eid prayer. So when you see your Muslim friends donning their best clothes, don’t be stingy with your compliments!
12. Attend the Eid prayer
All Muslim men, women and children should try their best to attend the Eid prayer at the mosques as it is a suggested practice to pray together as a group to promote unity. However, do keep in mind that this is, unfortunately, not allowed this year due to the circuit-breaker measures!
13. Use an alternate route to and fro
Even though one path may be faster and more familiar than others, the Muslims are encouraged to take alternate routes to and from prayer. The reason behind this practice is to give the Muslims a chance to meet new people and visit their relatives and friends in order to build new social relationships and strengthen existing relationships.
Now that you have learnt these interesting visiting etiquettes and recommended practices during Hari Raya, you are ready to celebrate! It’s time to get your house ready for the celebration. Don’t forget to get yourself some yummy cookies and delicious Hari Raya treats for your stay-home celebration!
If you are looking for something interesting to watch this Hari Raya, you can check out our Rama-done series as well. Check out how we did at SGAG Fauzi’s Raya Quiz here!
How many of these visiting etiquettes and recommended practices did you know before this? Let us know in the comments below!
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