It’s almost that time of the year again! Cue children playing with sparklers, a dizzying array of soft drinks and traditional dishes like ketupat, sambal goreng and rendang. At this point, you’re already more than halfway through Ramadan, and frantically making sure you have everything ready for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
The next two weeks will involve a flurry of activities from preparing the annual ketupat feast to an intensive bout of spring cleaning, and making sure you have that fab outfit ready to impress on day one.
In the midst of all the hype and buzz, ensure that you have these six Hari Raya essentials that will amp up the festive vibes. Trust us, Hari Raya won’t be complete if you’re missing any of these!
1. Lampu Kelap-Kelip (Hari Raya Lights)
Turn your house into a cosy and warm space this Hari Raya by decking your living area or around the perimeters with colourful LED lights. You might recognise them as lampu lap-lip. These lights really help to amp up the festive atmosphere as they subtly glow in various hues.
Some houses get really creative and even use these string of lights to form unique shapes like that of a mosque. In countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia where there are still kampungs around, you can expect these lights to be hung all around the circumference from the porch to the rear. These decorative elements will do wonders in giving your house that extra sparkle.
2. Household Decorations
In a bid to further add to the Syawal vibes, go one step further and decorate your house with colourful ribbon ketupats, shimmery streamers and even festive greeting signs. You can get these iconic ketupats from local bazaars. Be warned: you might be spoilt for choice as there is a myriad of vibrant colours and sizes!
If you’re not keen to hang them around your main gates, you can also consider hanging these decorations on doorknobs or scattering them around your tables. Wherever you choose, these decorative elements will surely add a pop of colour!
3. Cookies & Kuih
Food, glorious food! Another key sign that hints at the imminence of Hari Raya will be the presence of kuih (in abundance). From perennial classics such as pineapple tarts, kuih makmur and kuih semprit to modern cookies, these sweet treats will definitely get you in the festive mood.
If you feel confident enough, gather some of your buddies and challenge yourself to bake them from scratch. Download the recipes, go on a baking shopping spree and prep to smell like butter all day long! Nothing tastes more satisfying than your homemade versions of these yummy delights.
It’s been a childhood tradition to play sparklers in the days leading up to the first day of Syawal. Whether you opt to play with simple sound-free ones or decide to go for full-blown firecrackers (note various countries’ restrictions!), these will surely get you in a celebratory mood. In essence, this is still a core tradition that is practised until today. Both the young and the young at heart bond over such precious moments, fostering closer ties and improving silaturrahim (relations).
5. Festive Songs
The easiest way to get in the festive mood is by listening to classic soundtracks that embody the spirit of Syawal. Whether you’re into the sad ballads or the more catchy and upbeat tunes, be rest assured that Hari Raya songs are the best way to get you groovin’.
If you’re too spoilt for choice, some favourites include M Nasir’s Satu Hari Di Hari Raya, Sudirman’s Dari Jauh Ku Pohon Maaf and Black Dog Bone’s Cahaya Aidilfitri. Turn up the radio’s volume when you’re starting to spring clean, it might just double your efficiency.
6. Green Packets
In the spirit of giving, green packets are usually prepared by the elders who will offer them to young children and those that are still unmarried. After seeking for forgiveness, these green packets will be given as a token.
Once you start filling these up, you’re bound to know that Hari Raya is closer than you think it really is. Some of these green packets boast really elaborate designs and motifs while others might feature cartoon-ish prints and funny quotes. The amount inside usually varies but they say it’s the thought that counts, no?
If you’re still stressing over things to settle for Hari Raya, use this concise list to check off all the necessities. Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the joyous festive mood. Rope in your loved ones and be #RayaReady!