Thursday, May 19, 2022

Hari Raya, after 2 long years

Muslims gather to celebrate the occasion for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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A child holds up a peace sign as his mother fits a songkok on his head at a shop at the Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman Aidilfitri bazaar.

A woman watches while her husband and son stand in front of a mirror, trying on baju Melayus ahead of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

Customers wearing face masks leave the Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman bazaar near the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Colourful canopies cover the many stalls at the Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman bazaar as crowds of customers rush to make last-minute preparations for Hari Raya.

A man sits at the kitchen table, weaving leaves for ketupat, a traditional Malay dish to be served with rendang and other side dishes.

It takes a practised hand to weave the leaves tightly together and pack them with rice.

Elsewhere, women work together cutting meat for the rendang, to be served with ketupat and lemang.

A youth pours coconut milk or santan into the blender, to be mixed into the rice for the lemang.

A child sleeps beside a woman as she cuts banana leaves to wrap the lemang which will be cooked in hollow bamboo tubes.

A young girl pitches in, helping to squeeze every last drop of santan from the grated coconut to be mixed with the rice.

Once the bamboo tubes are filled, the lemang is cooked over a steady fire.

A man watches the process, turning the bamboo tubes so that the rice will cook evenly.

Others set up small lights known as pelita, which lend a festive air.

On the morning of Hari Raya itself, Muslims gather at mosques as early as 8am to perform the special Aidilfitri prayers.

A man wearing a full baju Melayu, complete with a songkok, walks towards the mosque. It has been two years since mosques were allowed to hold Hari Raya prayers at full capacity.

Congregants enter the mosque, eager to gather once again for this special occasion.

Physical distancing at mosques has also been eased, allowing congregants to pray shoulder-to-shoulder once more although face masks are still required.

A man leaves the mosque after performing his prayers. He will now go home to enjoy a special meal together with his family.

Lunch is a lively affair, with relatives and friends gathering to celebrate for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Outside, a young girl plays with fire crackers, a familiar sight during any festive occasion in Malaysia.

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