Eid al-Fitr or known as “festival of breaking of the fast” is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the fasting season of Ramadhan. In Brunei (as well as in Malaysia, Indonesia) we call the season ‘Hari Raya’.
More than just a religious holiday, it is a season gather and rekindle ties with families & friends. There is the ‘Open House’, where families would host gatherings in their houses and invite family and friends over.
The Sultan of Brunei would do ‘Open House’ every year in his Istana (Royal Palace) inviting thousands of his people for a meet and greet session. There is free food and refreshments. It is open to the public! The queue is long however!
As there could be many ‘Open Houses’ in the season, families would have to rush to different houses. If the family (along with cousins or friends) is too big to fit in the car, they sometimes they ‘convoy’ together, where up to three to seven cars would follow the lead car to the destination of the ‘Open House’.
The traditional Malay food ‘Kueh’ is usually served, as well as cans of drinks (coca-cola, soy bean, etc.), sweets, and food. By the end of the visit, the host would give out ‘green packets’ (money in green packets) to children.
The attire of the season in Brunei we call it ‘Baju Cara Melayu’ (or Malay Attire). Most men just buy ready made Baju Melayu in the stores. Most women in Brunei would however prefer purchase Kain (cloth/silk) of their choice and send it to the tailor shops to get it cut for the big day.
Malaysian Raya songs (including Siti Nurhaliza’s) are quite famous here and played not just in houses, but in radio stations, malls, etc. Not sure now, but those black and white P. Ramlee movies were always played in the open house especially by grandparents.
Housings are generally decorated with ‘Cucul’ or holiday lights.
While Raya is great, there are some cases we Bruneians have to consider. There could be a potential wastage of food, refreshments, and energy (electricity). Also be careful with car accidents, as it’ll spike in this holiday season.
As I close this article I like to say hary raya to all readers. Hope you have an awesome day head of you!