8 Best Hari Raya Memories ‘90s Kids Can Relate - Homage

8 Best Hari Raya Memories ‘90s Kids Can Relate

Did you really celebrate Raya if you did not do one of these? Check out these timeless Hari Raya memories Malaysians in 90s can relate!

by Ain Nadzirah

Hari Raya celebration in Malaysia 

Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims after a full month of fasting (Ramadhan). Also known as Hari Raya Puasa, it falls on the first day of Syawal (the tenth month of the Islamic calendar). 

In Malaysia, we will have to wait for the official declaration by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal which is usually broadcast at 8pm on the night before Raya. The announcement is made upon the moon sighting procedure on the 29th of Ramadhan. 

The first day of Raya is a joyful occasion where Malaysian Muslims return to their hometowns (or balik kampung) and gather with relatives. In the morning, there is an ‘asking forgiveness’ session among the family members before indulging in various Raya must-have foods like rendang and ketupat

8 Best Hari Raya Memories ‘90s kids can relate

As Hari Raya Aidilfitri serves as an integral event for Malaysian Muslims, many fun traditions have been passed down for generations. Among the best Hari Raya memories that definitely bring back nostalgia, especially for the ‘90s kids are :  

1. Collecting duit raya and sampul raya

Let’s be honest, duit raya was the only thing we cared about and looked forward to as kids during Hari Raya. 

Source: New Straits Times

Without any job commitments, receiving duit raya was the only way we could feel that sense of achievement of ‘earning’ money. Being a major source for our financial savings, it was the main highlight of Raya celebration for us kids back then.

The most exciting part was always the waiting moment right before holding that raya packet (sampul raya) in our hands. Once we opened that Raya packet and found out how much we managed to get, the feeling of happiness truly beats that of getting free candies! And of course, we would waste no time comparing our duit raya with other cousins or siblings to see who received the biggest amount. RM1 alone was pretty huge during those days and if we were lucky enough, we could even get a RM50 note!

So, who’s actually eligible for duit raya

Commonly, all kids and teenagers who are still pursuing their studies would be given duit raya by adultsincluding parents, working siblings, and working relatives.

Nowadays, we have e-duit raya where you can transfer money online or via QR code. But one thing irreplaceable is the beautiful raya packets that we loved to collect and keep as mementos.  

2. Cycling around neighbourhood with friends/neighbours

One of the most unforgettable Raya traditions is definitely going from house to house, together with friends. 

We would often see groups of boys cycling around the neighbourhood, shouting “Kami datang nak beraya!!” in front of people’s gates (imagine the kids in Stranger Things on bikes but Raya edition). 

Source: npr.org | netflix

For the boys, they would proudly keep their collection of duit raya in the front pockets of their baju melayu. There were also some of them being a caring older brother, bringing along their younger siblings at the back of their bicycles.

To be honest, visiting houses was our indirect way of expecting duit raya and free food. Sometimes, the hosts would just immediately give out duit raya at their front doors because they knew that was what we came for. But that was enough to make our hearts jump in happiness!

3. Hari Raya cards

No one is doing Raya cards anymore these days! 

Remember how we would spend a long time standing by the greeting cards shelf at the malls? There used to be tons of Raya greeting cards with various creative designs, and we would take time to read one by one because all of them were really interesting. It was a difficult decision to choose, but the ones with funny cartoons and dialogues would always win.

Giving Raya cards is truly a forgotten art nowadays. With the presence of online communication, we now simply wish Hari Raya to our friends and family via text, stickers, and GIFs. There is less excitement as compared to when you get a specially handwritten Hari Raya card in your mailbox! 

4. Sleeping with cousins in the living room

Balik kampung was incomplete without having the cousins sleepover. For most people, Hari Raya Adilfitri was the only time of year where everyone in the big family could get together in one place to make up for lost times.

So when we did get to finally catch up with one another, us kids would just hang out with the cousins all the time and even sleep shoulder to shoulder at night. As the traditional Malay house usually had a spacious living room, we would use up the entire nook and cranny of that area as our own space. 

Every night of our stay at the kampung, all the mattresses, pillows, and blankets would be dragged from the bedrooms out to the front, so that the cousins could play and talk until late at night. We can agree the best memory was no doubt the morning after when we had to tiptoe in between bodies just to get to the toilet before anyone else does! 

5. Pelita minyak tanah (Oil lamps)

You know Raya is right around the corner when you start seeing these traditional raya oil lamps lighting up your neighbourhood.

In Malay, it is known as pelita or more specifically pelita minyak tanah because in the old days, kerosene was used to light up these oil lamps. Nowadays, there are more convenient options of battery-powered or solar-powered LED pelita

Usually a week before the Raya celebration, teenagers would spend the night to decorate their house compounds with the oil lamps, either by hanging them on the fences or sticking them into the ground. The purpose is merely to brighten the house, ignite excitement and bring in the nostalgic Raya mood.

Some communities even take this tradition to the next level! For example, the youths in small town Muar, Johor have been continuing the legacy of installing decorated oil lamps at the field of Jalan Daud. This highly anticipated tradition has been around since 1975, with the themes changing every year. In 2019, it was in the shape of an ice cream vendor and this year, a windmill. 

6. Raya advertisements

Back when there were no cool gadgets like iPads and laptops, the big non-flat television was our go-to source of entertainment. Every year, we would look forward to watching the tear-jerking Raya advertisements on the screen in our living room. 

In the spirit of Hari Raya, these Raya ads evoke sentimental emotions and promote moral values, primarily ones that encourage kinship and reconnection with family members. Several famous companies such as Petronas and TV3 created some of the best Raya ads that are still memorable till today:

  1. Ikan Di Laut, Asam Di Darat by PETRONAS (2005)
  2. Plastic Bowl by PETRONAS (2006)
  3. Cekodok Monster by TV3 (2007)

Although Raya ads are now available online and can be watched via smartphones, it cannot replicate that same familyhood when you were sitting in front of the TV with the rest of your family members and everyone trying to hold back their tears while watching the Raya ads. Just Asians being Asians!

7. Rewang

In Malay culture, when there is a major event such as weddings and Hari Raya Aidifltri, groups of relatives or villagers would gather at one house to help out with the preparations—this is what we call rewang. 

Back in the ‘90s when the sense of community was heavily ingrained, rewang raya was an important Raya tradition. The men would be assigned to rearrange the furniture and change the curtains or bring out the carpets, while the women would roll up their sleeves in the kitchen cooking up a Raya feast or baking Raya cookies. The cousins would be sitting on the floor, with the older ones teaching the younger kids to weave ketupat using coconut leaves. All of this chaos while the radio blasting Raya songs!

The loudness of rewang on the night before Raya was definitely something we all surely miss. In these modern days, most families will hire a caterer instead as they prefer not to cook by themselves due to the hassle. A lot of Raya cookies can easily be bought and ready-made ketupats are all also being sold everywhere. Convenience has sadly replaced that warm feeling of togetherness. 

8. Meriam buluh

Like other festivities, Hari Raya Aidilfitri is also synonymous with the explosion sounds of fireworks and firecrackers. 

There was one iconic type of traditional firecracker known as meriam buluh or bamboo cannon. At one glance, meriam buluh looks similar to the giant astronomical telescope (the one used to see stars and moon up close). The reason the bamboo cannon was special was because it was all home-made by using bamboo tubes and calcium carbide. 

However, meriam buluh is no longer permissible due to its dangerous risks to the people involved and also the surrounding community. 

Getting professional care for your abah, atuk, or nenek this Raya 

With you being the host for countless guests during Raya season, it is so easy to lose track of your caregiving duties towards your ageing loved ones. Their medications and healthy eating habits may be often overlooked amidst the bustling Raya celebration.

Why don’t you take off some of the weights on your plate and let a trained caregiver lend you a hand during this Raya, for at least a few hours? This way, you can enjoy your Raya to the fullest worry-free, while being assured that your loved one is receiving great care at home. 

Download our app to start booking care for your loved one!

References

Afiqah. (2020, May 22). The moon sighting process that determines Ramadhan and Raya, explained!. Gempak

https://gempak.com/rojakdaily/lifestyle/moon-sighting-process-determines-ramadan-and-raya-explained-61704 

 

Izzud Deen Redzua. (2014, August 2). Sharing nostalgia and memories of Aidil Fitri. IIUM Today. https://news.iium.edu.my/?p=17031 

 

Melissa Suraya Ismail. (2022, April 26). 7 Nostalgic Raya ads that’ll take you down memory lane. The Rakyat Post. https://www.therakyatpost.com/fun/2022/04/26/7-nostalgic-raya-ads-thatll-take-you-down-memory-lane/ 

 

Miera Nadhirah. (2017, June 22). 7 memorable moments of Hari Raya. http://www.mieranadhirah.com/2017/06/7-memorable-moments-of-hari-raya.html 

 

Qaseh. (2021, May 3). A nostalgic celebration: Mum shares her top 3 best-loved Ramadan & Raya memories. Motherhood.

https://story.motherhood.com.my/blog/ramadan-raya-memories-with-coconut-milk/ 

About the Writer
Ain Nadzirah
Ain is just another small-town film buff who treats her car rides as a stage to belt out show tunes and musicals. It is not a strange sight to spot her talking to her 14 cats at home, or arguing with her grandma over having too many (and counting) potted flowers.
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