Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Embracing Hari Raya in the new norm

Hakim Hayat

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a religious celebration for Muslims to commemorate the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan.

As Bruneians celebrate Hari Raya today, for the third year running, they will have to adhere to health protocols and guidelines during the festive season due to ongoing efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Private home events are allowed for close family members, as announced at the daily COVID-19 press conference recently, where the maximum is 30 guests for indoor events, not including the host, and 200 guests for outdoor events. For events at halls, up to 300 people are permitted.

The health guidelines include the need to perform antigen rapid test (ART) screening before leaving home to visit family members, with those testing positive required to report through the BruHealth app and self-isolate at home; wearing face masks except when eating and drinking; and frequently hand washing or using hand sanitiser. Visiting in groups and shaking hands, meanwhile, are not encouraged.

The public is reminded to take precautionary steps in protecting each other, especially for high-risk individuals, such as the elderly, and to stay at home if feeling unwell.

However, as we continue to practise social distancing and embrace the new normal, a little creativity is all we need to keep up the festive spirit! A more intimate Raya celebration does not need to be an uneventful one.

Here are ways to guarantee a fun and memorable Raya akin to how it was, pre-COVID.

GIVE YOUR HOUSE A MAKEOVER

With all the time you have (we get three days off for Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration) this is one of the main things to do in preparation for the festivities.

Even if you are not expecting many guests this year, apart from close family members, it will still be a good idea to spring-clean your house and give a clear-out to old stuff that you have not been using for the past 12 months, as well as to decorate your home to give it a festive vibe.

At the very least, your living space will look good when you make a video call. Making this a once-a-year habit can mean more space for comfortable living.

WEAR YOUR BEST CLOTHES

Many of us may have already purchased our Raya garments this year and are looking forward to dressing up. Encourage the entire family to put on their best clothes during the first day to get in the spirit of Aidilfitri. After all, it is indeed Sunnah for Muslim men and women to wear their best clothes on this blessed holiday.

In addition, since many Muslims plan on turning to social media to stay connected, we will still be able to unveil our finest Raya clothes virtually this year.

AIDILFITRI PRAYER AT HOME

Adilifitri prayer comes once a year and is performed after Subuh prayers, once the sun has completely risen and before Zohor prayers.

It has two rakaat, involves a series of takbir. It is also Sunnah for Muslims to wear their best clothes when performing the prayer.

Muslims are highly encouraged to perform this prayer, though it is not obligatory.

Although Aidilfitri prayers at mosques nationwide are allowed this year, Muslims also have the option to pray as a family in their own homes.

Perhaps, these circumstances can bring about a more special and meaningful experience for the entire family as everyone gets to pray as a unit.

MAKE YOUR OWN KUIH RAYA

Instead of buying, why not try making your own kuih raya?

Whether you are a beginner or an expert baker, following a family recipe or one found online, you’ll be surprised by how satisfying it can be to make your own kuih.

In honouring the joy of giving during the festive season, you can even make extras to give to your neighbours, friends and family. In addition, you can send your kuih raya to family and friends via delivery services.

SEND E-GREETING CARDS

If one is not able to travel and visit relatives abroad during this festive season, one can always send them virtual Raya greetings via email or messaging apps; or even send physical Raya cards through the post.

Host a virtual or fun gathering with family. Since Raya is only limited to close family members, one can opt to connect with relatives from different locations via group chat on various video-conference platforms such as FaceTime, Zoom, Google Meet and Skype.

Organise a convenient time for everyone and connect with your loved ones this Raya.

To make the sessions more exciting, organise fun games and activities during the call, or even with your own family at home. Examples of games for all ages to look into include Among Us, QuizUp, Psych and Scrabble Go.

Online Raya calls might also create more thoughtful conversations with loved ones as the dedicated time allows both parties to properly reconnect with each other.

In addition, being virtually present means that you are able to attend multiple gatherings online with minimal hassle, all from the safety and comfort of your own home.

GET FOOD DELIVERED TO YOUR DOORSTEP

One of the most anticipated elements of every Ramadhan and Hari Raya is the food. Apart from cooking or baking at home, you can always order food to be delivered to your doorstep, or even loved ones’ doorsteps, via food delivery services.

AN AIDILFITRI TO REMEMBER

Despite the pandemic, the merriment that Aidilfitri brings is still attainable. The traditions we’ve kept throughout the years can still be upheld in the new normal.

As with the practice of Aidilfitri prayers, asking for forgiveness and festive meals can still be fulfilled during these tough times.

May our Hari Raya Aidilfitri be a joyous and memorable occasion. After all, it is about spending time with those closest to us and reflecting on the blessings we have received from Allah the Almighty.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir & Batin!

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