raya in the city

September 20, 2009

Obviously not as lively as Raya in the kampung (village), but as long as you have your family with you, nothing else matters.

As usual, Raya is eating day. OK, and forgiveness and bonding and all that.

But priorities first; ketupat and duit raya (money).


Early in the morning, my family and I did the usual routine; pray at the mosque, come back to eat unhealthy-worthy-of-blocked-arteries food, ask for forgiveness and blessing, and the photo session.


I had no say in my baju raya (Raya outfit). My mom sent material to the tailor when I was abroad, and apparently told her I was skinny. The tailor used the measurements from 2 years ago and I could not breathe in my new baju raya. I could barely eat without worrying about my clothes ripping at the seams. It was so tight, I felt like I could be The Incredible Hulk if I ate a little bit more and painted myself green.

The “asking for forgiveness” part was filled with laughter. We were all in a good mood, ready to forgive and forget. The kids were coloring the atmosphere with their screams and laughter. We even dragged Opah out of her room to be with us in the front living room.


This is how the Muslims normally ask for forgiveness.


  1. The younger one kneels on the floor to the elderly, who’s sitting on a higher level. Even if the elderly has done many bad things to you, and you feel that you have been such a good young one obeying each instruction the elderly gives. You still have to kneel down because no way is the elderly going to do that. Ego trip. Pfttt
  2. Give your best smile.
  3. Start your speech, which normally goes like this. “Dear Elderly, Happy Raya and Maaf Zahir Batin. Please forgive me for any shortcomings and wrongdoings I may have done to you, especially ones I did behind your back that you don’t know about until now.” Even though you’re really thinking, “Why do I have to do this when you should be asking forgiveness from me. This is so unfair. My knees hurt.”
  4. Take their right hand and kiss it. If you don’t like the Elderly, you can wipe your snot with their hand.
  5. Hug them tight. Again, f you don’t like the Elderly, pull a hair or two and say it was an accident.
  6. Smile to the camera and act sweet. Because you really want the duit raya (money packet) that the Elderly should be giving you in a few minutes.

Works everytime.


The unfortunate thing for me this year is that I had to give duit raya to everyone, because I have started working and receiving salary. This unspoken rule isn’t sympathetic to the amount of your salary. Even if you earn peanuts, you still have to give whatever you can afford.


So, I forked out my salary and gave my parents and my whole family some money. It wasn’t much, so I told them it was just a little token of my appreciation. But really, it’s because I’m cheap.

Even so, it felt really good to be able to sort of give back a little bit to the family. They were appreciative of it, and suddenly the hole in my bank account didn’t feel so big.

My nephew and niece loved the money I gave them so much, they decided to eat it.


I was so tired entertaining guests and going out to other people’s houses (OK fine, I really just went to ONE house today. Was too tired to go anywhere else), that I took a nap with Opah the whole evening.

All this hype is too much for old women like us, sigh.




PLEASE FORGIVE ANY WRONGDOINGS I MAY HAVE DONE, WHETHER IN MY WRITINGS, SPOKEN WORDS OR MY ACTIONS. As a blogger, I write a lot and along the way, some of the things I write might’ve offended or hurt you. So, here I extend my sincerest apology.