Thursday, September 8, 2011

Selamat Hari Raya!

It's Hari Raya time!  Hari Raya is the month long festival that follows Ramadan - the month of fasting.  The point of Hari Raya is after all the thinking the praying of Ramadan to ask forgiveness for your sins.  All during Ramadan you will see people of all ages asking everyone for forgiveness.  For all sorts of things, from the checker in the supermarket and the one time you thought badly of them for being slow to your mom from yelling at her that one time eight months ago.  To ask for forgiveness the younger person (or the person asking forgiveness) brings their forehead to the elder's right hand and asks 'ampun' (forgiveness).  It is the elders job to forgive them for whatever they may have done (even though they rarely say what it is they are asking for forgiveness for).  They say that after Hari Raya everyone feels free of sins and is open to a fresh start.

Another big part of Hari Raya is the visits.  Everyone goes to all of their friends house to visit during Raya.  And of course, food plays a big part of the visits.  It always beings with tea and (lots of) small cookies, and then the family almost always brings out food, and LOTS of it.  I mean a TON.  One house I went to brought us 6 kinds of cookies and 6 plates of food.  It was more food than I have for dinner back in the US.  And on a normal Raya day we would visit 3-5 houses on one day, so we were quite stuffed with food.  It didn't take me long to learn not to fill myself up at each house.  During the visit the house owners will give all the guests that aren't married an envelope filled with month - anywhere from 1 RM to 60 RM ($.30 to $20.00).  So far I have about 200 RM.

One special food eaten a lot during Hari Raya is the ketupat.  A ketupat is a 3D square made a bamboo that is filled with rice.  I actually learned how to weave the ketupat myself, which is more than the rest of my host family can say :P  The ketupat itself has no special taste, it is only rice that is extremely dense, but it is often eaten with peanut sauce.  It represents Hari Raya, and ketupat are found all over the streets and restaurants.

Gift basket for Hari Raya - full of food

Ketupat - Original (made by yours truly)

Ketupat - Modern (and much easier)

Little cookies

Money and the envelopes it comes it

Half of the family the first day of Raya


  1. Any holiday where you get cookies AND money is a great holiday!

  2. Why do only unmarried guests receive money? If you're married, you are already provided for?