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Raya in the kampung and the city

Whether in the villages or in the city centres, Hari Raya merriment spreads far and wide.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read
Visitors admire a replica of the Federal Territory Mosque made out of thousands of tiny oil lamps in Kampung Ribu, Kuala Kangsar.
Visitors admire a replica of the Federal Territory Mosque made out of thousands of tiny oil lamps in Kampung Ribu, Kuala Kangsar.

It's nearly midnight in Kampung Ribu, Kuala Kangsar, and Khairil holds his children by the hand as he guides them towards a replica of the Federal Territory Mosque.

It is one of many built together by the village folk in the district. 

His children, one seven and the other 10, are experiencing the Panjut Festival celebrated for years by villagers in Perak. 

They stand entranced by the oil lamps – 1,600, to be exact – placed around the replica of the mosque. 

"It's been so long since I came to Kuala Kangsar for this festival," Khairil said, watching the lights with his children. 

"When I was young and in school, I would come here with my friends. Now I'm here with my family and children." 

Children play with oil lamps on the ground at Kampung Ribu in Kuala Kangsar.

Khairil and his family are fresh from their journey from their home in Shah Alam, Selangor. 

After visiting Kampung Ribu, they will turn back to Sungkai in Tanjong Malim.

Throughout the village, homes are lit up with colourful lights and oil lamps and children laugh as they play with sparklers under the watchful eye of their parents. 

The festive atmosphere increases after 9.30pm, when villagers begin walking back from the nearby suraus after performing the evening prayer. 

The coffee shops lining the village roads meanwhile are filled with elderly villagers enjoying a mug of hot tea after a day of fasting. 

Amy, a villager in Kampung Ribu, said things were more festive this year as more people were returning to their home towns. 

"Many of them stop here to let their children play with fireworks," she said. 

"Most of them are strangers. Maybe from other districts. But it's a lot of fun. We haven't felt happy like this since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic." 

City celebrations

Far away in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, lights shine brightly as well – but the strong glare of LED boards and the headlights of the vehicles filling Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, even at 4.30am. 

Here in the city, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman is a focal point for urbanites preparing for Hari Raya.

Crowds throng the Aidilfitri bazaar in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur.

As in the village, children run in the field, playing with sprinklers and setting off small fireworks. 

In Putrajaya, meanwhile, the area near Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin becomes a playground for children after their parents finish the evening prayer. 

Some play, while others continue enjoying the food they began at the breaking of fast. 

Zafran, a customs officer enjoying the late-night scene with his children, said they had never experienced a Raya celebration like the ones he had as a young boy in his village. 

"It's good for them to come to places like this where there are many other children playing as well," he said. 

"They can all play together, and when they're tired, they can go home and go to bed. Meanwhile, we can take a break as well and then go back to work the next day." 

And on social media, the festive spirit continues with internet users sharing pictures of their homes all decked up for Hari Raya. 

TikTok user @AinaRosli said her father had spent about RM200 on decorations for their home in Segamat, Johor. 

"Raya only comes once a year," she added. "His children and grandchildren are all coming back to celebrate. 

"That's why he's willing to spend and to tidy up the house. Every year, this is what he does."