Gearing up for second Raya in the new normal

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam will sight the new moon of Syawal on May 12 to decide when Hari Raya will be celebrated, marking the end of a month of fasting.

This is the second Hari Raya Muslims will celebrate under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic. This, however, has not dampened the mood as large crowds can be seen at shopping complexes which have been decorated for the festive occasion.

An array of food items, gifts, clothes and other goodies are available drawing in shoppers.

Last year, social gatherings including open house and house visits were limited to immediate family members. The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced that this year’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations may be limited to private events with immediate family members and close friends only.

The guidelines stipulate that the gatherings are to be held on a scheduled basis appropriate to the available house capacity to prevent overcrowding. Large families with limited house space are advised to hold gatherings at a hall adhering to restrictions on mass events and the scanning of the BruHealth QR code at entry points.

People shop in preperation for Raya. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Aishah, a mother of six, said, “My family is preparing to receive guests this year. Last year, we did not prepare much kueh. Recently, I visited the Youth Centre in the capital to buy local kueh and cakes. I prepared early so that I will not need to rush things. I even planned a roster for visitors to my open house. We are still taking precautions against the pandemic, but it is not as bad as last year since home visits are allowed for friends and acquaintances.”

With the number of COVID-19 cases remaining high in neighbouring countries, the prospect of balik kampung to celebrate Hari Raya Aidifitri with loved ones remains dim for many as travel restrictions are extended.

Meanwhile, Imams in the Friday sermon yesterday reminded the public to not be negligent and be distracted with the preparations for Hari Raya as well as not to spend more than they can afford.

“Do not spend more than you can afford which will only trouble you afterwards. While preparing for Hari Raya, do not be negligent and be distracted with the preparations for Hari Raya. We should enhance worship and charity with only a few more days left of Ramadhan,” Imams said.