● By Charisma Rossilia
The pandemic has changed the way we do things. Did people celebrate Raya the same way they did two years ago? Let’s find out.
Every year, Muslims around the world look forward to celebrating Raya as it marks the end of Ramadan and the start of a new month on the Islamic calendar, Syawal. However, for the past two years, the pandemic took away that joy and excitement.
2020… start of pandemic and we were in lockdown. 2021… we almost had the chance to celebrate Raya but then bom!, cases started to rise and we were in a lockdown again. 2022… FINALLY. Muslims in Malaysia were able to celebrate Raya! But then… “Saya mengisytiharkan bahawa tarikh Hari Raya Puasa bagi negeri-negeri seluruh Malaysia ialah pada hari Isnin, 2 Mei 2022.”
OH NO. PANIC. Raya 2022 came a day earlier than planned!
Many were caught off guard, completely unprepared to celebrate Raya a day before than what they expected to. Nurlisa Mohamed Noor, shares her experience: “We had nothing prepared. No food and our house was still in a mess. We immediately took out all the frozen rendang and ketupat to be served on Raya morning. The eve of Raya this year didn’t feel as exciting as it should have as it was a chaotic one. However, it definitely is the one we will remember for as long as we live!”
Aside from a chaotic Raya, many also planned their journey back to their hometown ahead of time, which resulted in crazy traffic this year. “It was insane! My family and I decided to delay our journey and went back during the third day of Raya in hopes that traffic won’t be as bad. To our dismay, it was still very bad! We were on the road for seven hours! It usually takes us only three hours to get to our hometown,” says Izzati Shamimi. But it was worth it when we finally got to see the faces of our loved ones and give them a much anticipated hug.
A fresh start of the new month, Syawal isn’t complete without new sets of clothes and house decorations. What was your preparation like for Raya this year? “Nothing too fancy because we were all focused on spending time with the family. However, we did start our Raya shopping early. Each of my family members bought new Raya outfits. It’s been two years without new outfits so we deserved to splurge a little this year. We also decorated our house to fit in with the Raya vibe. One of my favourite activities to do before Raya is to make all Raya cookies. This year, my family made over five different types and they all tasted delicious,” says Iylia Shalini.
One word to describe Raya 2022: Reconnection. Despite it being a rushed one, we can all agree that it brought everyone together. Children were able to reconnect with their parents back in their hometown and reconnected with family members who lived far. “I feel we have become more appreciative of our loved ones and are more aware of our surroundings. I felt this during the morning of Raya when we gathered together as a family to seek forgiveness. The moment felt very sincere and we sought forgiveness truly from the heart as we know that our time together won’t last forever and who knows what will happen next or if this will be the last time we celebrate Raya together.” explains Husnina Aliah.
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash
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