Hari Raya Aidilfitri Brunei

Hari Raya Aidilfitri, also referred to as Eid al-Fitr, is a momentous religious festival observed by Muslims across the globe. This event commemorates the conclusion of Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting in Islam. 

 It is a time for Muslims to show gratitude to Allah for the strength given to them during the fasting period. Celebrations typically include communal prayers, feasting, giving of alms to the poor (Zakat al-Fitr), and seeking forgiveness from relatives and friends. The greeting “Selamat Hari Raya” is commonly used, meaning “Happy Eid” in Malay.

  It is a time for Muslims to show gratitude to Allah for the strength given to them during the fasting period. Celebrations typically include communal prayers, feasting, giving of alms to the poor (Zakat al-Fitr), and seeking forgiveness from relatives and friends. The greeting “Selamat Hari Raya” is commonly used, meaning “Happy Eid” in Malay.

History of Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Brunei

The history of Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Brunei dates back to the advent of Islam in the region. It has been an integral part of Bruneian culture and religious practice for centuries. The sultanate has evolved unique traditions that intertwine Islamic practices with local customs. 

The royal family of Brunei plays a pivotal role in the celebrations, with the Sultan hosting an open house for the public. In Brunei, the occasion is also marked by the decoration of streets and homes with lights and the hoisting of the national flag. It is a public holiday in Brunei, allowing for extended festivities that can last up to a week.

By providing only straightforward information on Hari Raya Aidilfitri and its significance in Brunei, this section does not include a conclusion or personal opinions. This ensures the reader receives clear, unbiased information about the subject.

Preparation for Hari Raya Aidilfitri

 In anticipation of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Bruneians typically purchase new clothing as a symbol of renewal and purification. Traditional garments such as ‘Baju Melayu’ for men and ‘Baju Kurung’ or ‘Baju Kebaya’ for women are popular choices. 

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These clothes are often made from fine fabrics like silk and are intricately designed with patterns that embody Bruneian culture. Accessories such as ‘songkok’ for men and ‘tudong’ (headscarves) for women complement the attire. 

The color green, which represents Islam and paradise, is frequently seen in the ensembles. Tailors and fashion outlets experience a surge in business as families prepare their wardrobes for the festive season.

Decoration and home preparation

Homes are thoroughly cleaned and sometimes renovated to welcome guests during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Traditional decorations such as ‘ketupat’ (rice cakes wrapped in woven palm leaves) often adorn homes. Oil lamps, or ‘pelita’, are lit outside houses, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The use of bright and colorful lights in house facades and gardens is a common sight, adding to the festivity of the occasion. 

Some families also prepare ‘Raya cards’, a tradition akin to Christmas cards, to send greetings and well-wishes to relatives and friends.

By highlighting the numerous preparations undertaken by Bruneians for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the above sections document the rich traditions that precede the festivities of this joyous occasion.

Hari Raya Eve

Celebrations and festivities

  • As Hari Raya Aidilfitri approaches, the evening before is a flurry of activity and excitement.
  • Families gather to seek forgiveness from each other, a practice known as ‘maaf zahir dan batin’, which means to apologize for any physical and emotional wrongdoings.
  • Children and young individuals visit their elders, showing their respect and seeking blessings.
  • The atmosphere buzzes with the sound of Takbir, the declaration of faith, recited in mosques and homes.
  • Fireworks and firecrackers, although not a traditional practice, have become a common feature in some areas, bringing more joy and colour to the night sky.
  • Traffic becomes heavy as people move from house to house, visiting friends and family in a gesture of unity and celebration.
  • The night before Hari Raya is also a time for final preparations, ensuring that everything is perfect for the day of festivities.

Traditional food for Hari Raya Eve

  • Preparations for Hari Raya include cooking lavish feasts, with kitchens bustling with activity on the eve.
  • ‘Rendang’, a spicy meat dish slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices, is a mainstay for many during the celebrations.
  • ‘Ketupat’ and ‘lemang’, rice-based dishes traditionally served during Hari Raya, are prepared ahead of time.
  • ‘Lontong’, a dish made of compressed rice wrapped in banana leaves, served with a spicy gravy, is another festive food item.
  • Sweets and delicacies such as ‘kuih-muih’, a variety of traditional Malay cakes and cookies, fill the tables as treats for guests.
  • The preparation of ‘Seri muka’, ‘Onde-onde’, and ‘Pineapple tarts’ is common, displaying the culinary skills of the hosts.
  • Many families also take this time to prepare refreshing drinks like ‘bandung’ and ‘air sirap’ to welcome their guests on the following day.
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Morning of Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Traditional prayers and rituals

  • The morning of Hari Raya Aidilfitri begins with the faithful performing the ‘solat sunat Aidilfitri’, a special prayer commemorating the end of Ramadan.
  • Men, women, and children dress in their finest attire, commonly known as ‘baju raya’, with men often wearing a traditional ‘Baju Melayu’ and women adorning themselves in beautifully tailored ‘Baju Kurung’ or ‘Kebaya’.
  • It is customary for some to visit the graves of departed loved ones, offering prayers and seeking blessings for the souls of the deceased.
  • Mosques and prayer halls are filled with the faithful, with sermons emphasizing forgiveness, unity, and gratitude for the blessings received throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
  • Following the prayers, greetings of ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ are exchanged, and a sense of camaraderie and communal harmony permeates the air.

Traditional breakfast and food

  • Morning festivities continue with a traditional breakfast, where families gather around the table to begin the day’s feasting.
  • Dishes such as ‘nasi lemak’, fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk, often make an appearance, as do spicy meat dishes like ‘beef rendang’.
  • ‘Kuih raya’, an assortment of traditional confections, provides sweet accompaniments to the morning’s offerings.
  • The breakfast serves not only as a meal but also as a moment for family members to bond and celebrate together after a month of fasting.
  • In many homes, it is common to serve ‘sirap selasih’, a sweet rose-flavored drink with basil seeds, touted for its refreshing qualities.

In the Muslim community, the morning of Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a significant event, marked by joyous celebrations, devout prayers, and sumptuous meals. The rituals and customs observed on this day convey the spiritual significance of the occasion and further strengthen the bonds within families and the wider community.

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Visiting Family and Loved Ones

  • On Hari Raya Aidilfitri, it is a common tradition to visit the homes of family members, starting with the elders as a sign of respect.
  • These visits are an opportunity for relatives to come together, often extending to close friends and neighbors, embodying the spirit of forgiveness and togetherness.
  • In each household, guests are warmly welcomed and are usually offered a variety of traditional Malay delicacies, which they partake in amidst joyful conversations.
  • It is also a time when members who have not seen each other due to distances rekindle relationships, catch up on life events, and create new memories.
  • Children often look forward to these visits as they receive ‘duit raya’, a token of goodwill in the form of money traditionally given in green packets.
  • Houses are often decked out in festive decor, with oil lamps (‘pelita’) and ketupat weavings adorning the living spaces, enhancing the celebratory mood.

Gift giving during Hari Raya Aidilfitri

  • Gift-giving is an integral part of the Hari Raya festivities, fostering a sense of sharing and generosity.
  • Presents are usually exchanged among family members, often including new clothes, sweet treats, or small trinkets.
  • Employers may also give out ‘Hari Raya bonuses’ to staff, as a gesture of appreciation for their hard work throughout the year.
  • Apart from material gifts, the spiritual gift of seeking and granting forgiveness is a cherished practice, aligning with the profound essence of the festival.
  • In tribute to the communal aspect, some families prepare gift baskets filled with festive goodies to be shared with neighbors regardless of their religious background.
  • The act of gift-giving not only brings joy to the recipients but also instills values of generosity and thoughtfulness in the giver, reflecting the true spirit of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

In communities celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the post-dawn rituals transition into a day filled with visits and gift-giving. 

These actions solidify familial ties and spread joy among both givers and receivers. The generosity exemplified during this time is not limited by familial lines but is extended to friends, neighbors, and even the broader community, showcasing the inclusive nature of the festival.

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