Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr Celebrations

Eid al-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Around the world, there are many names to refer to this day, which is one of the most important festival for Muslims.

In Malay-speaking countries of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei Eid is often called (affectionately) as Hari Raya (literally means “Big Day” or “Celebration Day”), Lebaran, Idul Fitri, or Aidil Fitri.

When is the Hari Raya in 2013 ?

Date of Hari Raya 2013 / Lebaran 2013

In 2013, Hari Raya AidilFitri / Idul Fitri / Lebaran is likely to fall on Thursday, 8 August 2013. Please note Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and thus this Hari Raya date given is approximation.

When is the Hari Raya in 2012 ?

Date of Hari Raya 2012 / Lebaran 2012

In 2012, Hari Raya AidilFitri / Idul Fitri / Lebaran is likely to fall on Sunday, 19 August 2012. Please note Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and thus this Hari Raya date given is approximation.

Hari Raya Puasa is the biggest festival for Muslim around the world, together with Hari Raya Haji / Qurban

Hari Raya 2013 / Eid 2013 Cellebrations

The night before Idul Fitri is filled with the sounds of many muezzin singing the takbir held in the mosques or mushollahs. In many parts of Indonesia as well as Malaysia, especially in rural areas, pelita or panjut or lampu colok (as known by Malay-Singaporeans) (oil lamps, similar to tiki torches) are lit up and placed outside and around the house. Special dishes like ketupat, dodol, lemang (a type of glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo) and other Indo-Malay (and in the case of Malaysia, also Nyonya) delicacies are served during this day.

It is common to greet people with “Selamat Idul Fitri” or “Salam Aidilfitri” (in Malaysia) which means “Happy Eid”. Muslims also greet one another with “mohon maaf lahir dan batin” in Indonesia and “maaf zahir dan batin” in Malaysia, which means “Forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)”, because Idul Fitri is not only for celebrations but a time for atonement: to ask for forgiveness for sins which they may have committed but was cleansed as a result of the fasting in the Muslim month of Ramadan.

Balik Kampung 2013 / Mudik 2013
One of the largest temporary human migrations globally, is the prevailing custom of the Lebaran where workers, particularly unskilled migrants labourers such as maids and construction labourers return to one’s home town or city and ask forgiveness from ones’ parents, in-laws and elders. This is known as mudik or pulang kampung in Indonesia or in Malaysian balik kampung.

Hari Raya Idul Fitri / Lebaran 2013 in Indonesia

In Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, Eid is known as Hari Raya Idul Fitri (or more informally as Lebaran). It is a national holiday, often last for as long as two weeks, with the exact date determined by local lunar observation. Idul Fitri is usually a public holiday for 2 days, another 2-3 days of company given holidays, and about 5 days of forced-leave.

Aside from the day-off, in Indonesia Idul Fitri has a legally mandated salary bonus for all employees, known as Tunjangan Hari Raya as enforced by Indonesia’s Department of Labour, Employment and Society. The mandated amount of this salary bonus differs by provinces.

For example, within Jakarta region the THR bonus must be at least Rp 1 million but not less than one month’s full salary paid in advance of Idul Fitri, in addition to the employee’s regular salary. Breaching or withholding THR is a very serious labour law infraction and can be punished severely, regardless of employer status or position.

Idul Fitri is the biggest holiday in Indonesia. Business for clothes and festive necessities are having their best month during the Ramadan / Puasa month with shopping malls and bazaars are filled with people days ahead of Idul Fiti, causing a distinctive festive atmosphere throughout the country and traffic mayhem. Many banks, government and private offices are closed for the duration of the Idul festivities, known collectively as the Lebaran.

During the Idul Fitri, the wealthier of the non-Muslims often “escape” to local hotels, or commonly Singapore and Australia, either to avoid not having domestic servants and drivers or simply because that is the only time in the year they could have a holiday/break.

Singaporean, Malaysia and Indonesian hotels have been particularly successful marketing lucrative Lebaran or Idul Fitri “escape package”.

Hari Raya Puasa / Aidil Fitri 2013 in Malaysia

In Malaysia, Eid is more commonly known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Hari Raya Idul Fitri or Hari Raya Puasa. Puasa means “Fasting”, basically refer to the fasting month (Ramadhan) preceding the Idul Fitri.

Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is compulsory or wajib, whereby Muslims are required to abstain from satisfying their most basic needs and urges, daily, between sunrise and sunset. It is one of the five tenets of Islam; as is the paying of zakat (alms tax for the poor), which must be tithed by the end of Ramadhan.

In Malaysia, the period of fasting ends when the new moon is sighted on the evening of the last day of Ramadhan. The actual sighting is conducted by state appointed religious officials at various vantage points (usually at hilltops) throughout the country.

If the crescent is sighted, the following day is then declared the first day of Aidilfitri, which is also the beginning of the 10th month of the Muslim calendar Syawal.

The Muslim community ushers in the first day of Aidilfitri by congregating at mosques for morning prayers. Everyone is usually decked out in their traditional best to mark the special occasion. Men are usually dressed in Baju Melayu, while the Baju Kurung, the quintessential Malay attire for females, is the prefered choice for the fairer sex.

Then it’s usually breakfast at home with the family, followed by a visit to the cemetery where deceased loved ones are remembered; graves are cleaned and cleared of overgrowth, and prayers are offered to Allah.

This is also a time to forgive and forget past quarrels. Asking for pardon is done in order of seniority. The younger members of a family approach their elders (parents, grandparents etc) to seek forgiveness, to salam (Muslim equivalent of a handshake), then kiss the hands of the older person as a sign of respect.

The usual greeting (that is uttered with the salam) during Aidilfitri is “Selamat Hari Raya”, which means “Wishing you a joyous Hari Raya”.

Children and old folks are given duit raya or gifts of money, in small envelopes. In recent years, many givers have opted for the Chinese practice of putting the money in ang pow packets; however instead of the usual red, the packets are green in colour.

Although the first three days are celebrated on a grander scale, many Muslims hold “open house” throughout the month, where friends and neighbours of other races are invited to join in the celebrations.

Hari Raya Puasa 2013 in Singapore

In Singapore, the first day of the Hari Raya is celebrated as a public holiday, where civil servants and private sector workers alike are mostly not required to work.

The main greeting used by Muslims in Singapore is “Selamat Hari Raya” which means “Happy Eid” in Malay. Another greeting is “Maaf Zahir dan Batin” which translates loosely to “I seek forgiveness (from you) physically and spiritually”, for Hari Raya is a time to reconcile and renew relationships with others.

During the Muslim month of Ramadan leading up to Hari Raya, it is mandatory for Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk. All Muslims except the young, old or infirm must fast. Many Muslims also abstain from pleasures such as smoking cigarettes and sexual activities during the daylight of the fasting month.

Widely, markets, or ‘Ramadan bazaars’ are held in many areas around the country, where all sorts of food and kuih ? traditional Malay delicacies ? are sold for breaking fast or buka puasa. Hotels and restaurants have also exploited this situation to offer exorbitant Ramadan buffets.

The main attraction place to observe the Hari Raya and the preparations prior to festival is best observed at Kampong Glam and Geylang Serai, a bustling outdoor market and the Hari Raya Light-Up, as well as various Mosque around Singapore.

Hari Raya is peak arrival period for Singapore, thus likely to prompt very low or non vacancy during this holiday period. So if you are planning to visit Singapore during Hari Raya Puasa 2013, make sure to book your hotel far in advance.

Hari Raya Aidil Fitri 2013 in Brunei

Brunei is a Muslim country near Indonesia and Malaysia. As a Muslim country, Hari Raya is one of the most important holiday in Brunei.

The atmosphere can be felt since the holy month of Ramadhan. This marks the beginning of the period of fasting – abstinence from food, drink and other material comforts from dawn to dusk. During this month, many places in Brunei bustle with activities as people set up stalls to sell traditional cakes and pastries, fruits, notably around the National Stadium and in Gadong. This could be the best time to check out local dishes and cakes at minimal prices.

Hari Raya is a time for celebration after the end the fasting month of Ramadhan. In the early part of the first day, prayers are held at every mosque in the country. Family’s get together to seek forgiveness from the elders and other loved ones. From the second day onwards, you will see Bruneians decked-up in their traditional garb in dashing colors to visit relatives and friends.

Special festive dishes are made especially for Hari Raya including satay (beef, chicken or mutton kebabs), ketupat or lontong (rice cakes in coconut or banana leaves), rendang (spicy marinated beef) and other tantalising cuisines. His Majesty, the Sultan, opens the doors of the Istana Nurul Iman to his people on this auspicious occasion. This provides the nation and other visitors the opportunity to meet His Majesty and other members of the Royal family, in order to wish them a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Please allow me to offer my best greetings to you:
Happy Raya 2013 !
Selamat Hari Raya 2013 !
Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri 2013 !
Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitr 2013 !
Happy Eid 2013 !
Selamat Lebaran 2013 !
Mohon maaf lahir batin !
Maaf zahir dan batin !

This post is also available in: Indonesian