The first day of Raya, Wednesday, 1 Syawal 1432 Hijriah/ 31 September 2011, this year was a relatively subdued event altogether. Yes, there was the usual crowd and chaos from morning to midnight, but it all seemed much calmer this year, perhaps because I’ve become so jaded to the celebrations, but perhaps also it’s generally been a well-behaved audience, entah. But I do know I’ve still not quite mastered the art of reacting with subtlety to very deep voiced “women”, and I still don’t know where to look when obese cousins start discussing their failed attempts at various diets as they chomped down on ultra-fat beef rendang and finished two bottles of coke, each.
Also this year, I had expected a chorus of the euphemistic “Sihat kau sudah!” comments – to which I would muster a half-ass senyum kambing and grit my teeth – but these didn’t come my way at all, much to my suspicion and surprise, and I was spared the agony of self-questioning as I scream “Why, God, Whyy???!”. Oh, the drama.
Let me walk you through it.
The much awaited announcement for the moon sighting came at around 7.15pm, but was leaked as usual via SMS slightly earlier, and through that dubious fountain of information and voyeuristic pleasure called “Facebook Status”. This was accompanied by successive explosions of fireworks, and irrepressive SMS alerts, all in celebration of the end of Ramadan and the arrival of Aidilfitri. The village is all lit up in a blinding array of neon light, adding to the festive mood.
On the morning of Syawal we returned from prayers at the mosque and received crowds of well-wishers. If you had been among them, you would have been met by this…
The poster was made by my 5 year-old niece, Lina.
Bapa’s decided to keep it simple this year, and planned for Satay, Kelupis, Ketupat and Lemang only for Day 1.
(How ironic was it that with all the food and kuih and cakes… my liur was only for ketupat and Kari Ayam… in a can, by Chef Wan!)
Day 2, today, was all about home-cooked stuff. We had Nasi lemak to offer guests. Nothing fancy, these are what you would find on the dinner table at my home any day.
The only problem is that I’ve been feeling rather exhausted and slightly unwell over the last two days. So I’ve not been the most gracious of hosts, finding myself in bed upstairs most of the time, making only sporadic visits to the reception – and making a quit exit back upstairs soon enough.
But I really must say that this year’s Raya has been rather calm.
But let’s just see how long it is until I get that so-far-elusive comment on my third chin!
Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir & Batin!