Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hari Raya

So for the last month it has been Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims. They cannot eat or drink during the day, from sun up to sun down. They must get up early and go to bed late if they want food. Towards evening the food stalls will open up. They people go and get their little snacks called buka puasa . Then they go an wait on the front lawn in front of the Mosque and wait for the call of fast to break and call to prayer. After that they can have some liquid and their snack. Then they will go to the Mosque to pray before they go have a nice leisure dinner. It has been an incredible sight to see the thousands of people in the food stall and on the lawn. I was going to try to get pictures, but it seems every time I can go it rains and the people don't wait on the lawn. The traffic is crazy down by the Mosque. The people park wherever on the street. They will park 3 and 4 deep from the curb and just any old place they can find a spot. It make it very crowded if a person forgets and tries to drive down those streets. It causes traffic jams. But after people are praying or enjoying their leisure dinner then there is no traffic at all. On the weekends they don't go to the beach or do normal outside things to conserve their energy. At school we have had McDonald's for lunch several of the days, then Chinese one day, and KFC ( I never eat KFC in the US, so it was something I normally don't have)another. The Malay ( Muslim) food places have been closed during the day. Last week the Chinese were also having a holiday, I believe, the Hungry Ghosts, so their restaurants were also closed. This is the week that Hari Raya- Day of Celebration is starting. To them this is kind of like their Christmas.

They go home to their families (kampung) for the holiday, for them it is an obligation. Some rotate between families and years. Others try to go to both families during this time. The schools have different amounts of time off. For my school we have from Wednesday the 8th to Monday the 13th. Some schools have both full weeks off. They give them so much time off so they can travel back to their families. They have more than one day of Hari Raya. The first day is based on the sighting of the moon. They go like 29 days which will take us to this Thursday night. Then based on if they sight the moon, they will either start their celebration Friday or Saturday. The celebration is an all day affair. They have lots of food. People bring gifts of money for the children. They like it when the guests wear their traditional celebration clothing the baju kurung. I think they dress very fancy. I have not found any that fit me, so I will probably just wear dress slacks and a blouse. I have been invited to the Hari Raya party at my owner and his wife's house. All of their children and grandchildren will be there. Normally people just go for like an hour or so, but I have been invited for the day, so they are treating me more like family. I don't know if I will stay the whole day. I am sure that I will visit with people but I don't know if they do games or anything else. I am interested to see what things I will learn about them and their culture and their Hari Raya.

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