Hello folks, it’s going to be that time of the year again where we visit our family and friends to celebrate Eid Mubarak, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia and Lebaran in Indonesia. Travelling back to our hometown is a bittersweet experience; waking up early, driving for hours and getting stuck in a massive traffic jam. But once we reach our destination, we’ll be greeted with smiling faces that are very familiar to us, and that makes it all the better.
Stampede beraya at Casa de Shaiful
At Stampede, during one of our Blitz (scrum) sessions, we threw a question that we can all relate to. It’s about each and everyone’s most favourite and memorable Hari Raya memory.
What is your best Hari Raya memory?
Here’s what the team had to say
For me, the best Hari Raya memory was from last year (2015). Before this I would only go back to my hometown, but now that I’m married, I get to start celebrating with two families. It is a new experience for me because now I need to decide which kampung I need to visit first. This also means I get to eat twice as much and can get to savor both Negeri Sembilan and Ipoh cuisine. My wife’s family are ethnic Banjar people so the food they serve is very unique to me, while my side makes the best rendang. Last Raya was also very memorable because my wife was pregnant at the time so many people came to visit.
My best Hari Raya memory last year in 2015. My family organized an open house, because my grandparents are not around anymore so there’s no place to ‘balik kampung’. The turnout was huge, with about 12 families attending the invitation. The guests contributed to some of the food and brought their own specialties to be shared.
Then there were also some crazy scenes happening when the kids got together. One of them just strolled into my room and picked up my ukelele and started jamming.
I think the biggest highlight of that Raya was the barbecue setup, using a big burner and set up at the porch of my house. Having a barbecue pit is very unique during Hari Raya. Then there were also some crazy scenes happening when the kids got together. One of them just strolled into my room and picked up my ukelele and started jamming. After that they went on to the playground.
In Malaysia, Hari Raya is often celebrated by traveling back to your hometown—this mass exodus is called “Balik Kampung” (translation: going back home to the village). My parents have called Ipoh town home for many years and yet when Raya beckons, we will always look forward fondly to Balik Kampung to my grandmother’s house, a small village in Batu Kikir, Negeri Sembilan. As Malaysia gets more urbanized, Balik Kampung could also mean going back home to wherever home is, cities, towns and villages alike.
When I was a child, my parents couldn’t afford to make the trip and celebrate Hari Raya with their family every year. At one time, I remember we didn’t go back for 3 years. So this made Balik Kampung something to look forward to. I remember us taking the rickshaw from our house in Kuala Terengganu to the bus terminal, followed by a bus ride to the Kuantan terminal by the river, an exchange to yet another bus onwards to Negeri Sembilan, disembarking at a small stop by the roadside and walking down the village road for another 2 kilometers (not easy with three children and massive luggage) before finally greeted by the excited shrieks of my aunties and uncles.
Raya food and popping zombies—that’s the dream.
My grandmother has gone for a few years now, but we still honour her memory and family tradition by celebrating Hari Raya together. One of the fondest memories I have of Hari Raya recently was playing Left 4 Dead in a LAN party with my siblings at the Raya table, surrounded by lemang, ketupat and laksa, with my dad checking in every so often to replenish his supplies of “Kuih Raya” (specialty raya cookies that truthfully, all tastes the same).
Raya food and popping zombies—that’s the dream. Anyone game this raya, look me up on Steam.
My father would occasionally join us in his sarong and fire ‘meriam’ (bamboo cannon) with the older cousins.
My fondest and best memory of Raya was when I was around 7 years old. During that time we would go back to my grandmother’s kampung. Once there all the cousins would get together to play with fireworks. It was cute because the smaller cousins would play with ‘Pop Pop’ (small firecrackers), while the older ones would play with larger fireworks. With such a variety, all sorts of sounds could be heard with everyone playing. My father would occasionally join us in sarong and fire ‘meriam’ (bamboo cannon) with the older cousins. Another thing about Raya is collecting ‘Duit Raya’ from the adults which we would soon spend on buying sweets.
For me, the best and most memorable Hari Raya was the time just after Nauly (my daughter) was born. She came into my life during the fasting period before Eid. That Raya was not like the other times because the neighbors would come over to visit and be excited over Nauly. It was a great combination of becoming a dad and getting together with friends and family.
I can’t recall a particular Raya that is the best. During that time I would visit family and friends, eat great food and getting some well needed rest after a month of fasting. Then at night, I’d hang out with my friends and watch football somewhere. One thing I do look forward to during this season is my grandmother’s cooking, as she makes the best Soto. Don’t just take it from me, my friends also love savoring her cooking.
What about you?
So what’s your favourite Hari Raya Memory? Share one of your best moments about this holiday with us below in the comment section. You’ll also be able to see what we’re up to this Raya on our Instagram and Facebook channels, so be sure to check that out too.
The team at Stampede wishes everyone a blessed Eid and Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin. Enjoy your holidays and make even more great memories!