Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or simply Hari Raya, is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by Muslims in Malaysia. Also known as Eid al-Fitr, it marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer, and self-reflection. Hari Raya is a time for Muslims to come together with family and friends to celebrate and share joy.
Over the years, the way Hari Raya is celebrated has evolved, particularly among millennials, and is likely to continue changing in the future.
Traditionally, Hari Raya in Malaysia is a time for family reunions and feasts. It is common for Malaysians to travel back to their hometowns to celebrate with their extended families. Homes are cleaned and decorated with colourful lights, and traditional Malay attire, such as the baju kurung and baju Melayu, is worn.
The highlight of the celebration is the open house tradition, where families welcome guests to their homes and offer them delicious traditional Malay dishes, such as rendang, lemang, and ketupat.
However, with the advent of technology and changing lifestyles, the way millennials celebrate Hari Raya has shifted. Many millennials now live in urban areas and may not have the opportunity to return to their hometowns due to work or other commitments.
This has led to the rise of virtual celebrations, where families connect through video calls or social media platforms to exchange well wishes and share festive moments. Social media has also influenced the way millennials showcase their Hari Raya celebrations, with many sharing their festive preparations, outfits, and culinary creations on platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
Looking beyond 2023, it is likely that the celebration of Hari Raya will continue to evolve, driven by technological advancements, changing social dynamics, and cultural influences. Virtual celebrations may become more prevalent, and social media may continue to shape how Hari Raya is experienced and shared.
The way millennials celebrate Hari Raya may continue to shift, influenced by global trends, individual preferences, and lifestyle changes. However, it is important to note that while the way Hari Raya is celebrated may change, the essence and significance of the festival remain deeply rooted in Malaysian culture and traditions.
One possible scenario is that traditional practices may become less common among millennials, as they become more influenced by global cultures and modern lifestyles. Traditional games and activities may be replaced by digital entertainment, and the emphasis on physical gatherings and communal celebrations may decrease.
However, it is important to note that culture is dynamic and adaptable, and traditions can evolve while still retaining their essence.
To ensure that the Hari Raya tradition is kept alive, it requires a collective effort from the community, including millennials, to value and preserve cultural heritage. This can be achieved through education, awareness, and active participation in traditional practices.
Families can continue to pass down traditions to younger generations, and communities can organize cultural programs and events to promote the significance of Hari Raya. Government and non-governmental organizations can also play a role in safeguarding cultural heritage by supporting initiatives that promote traditional customs and practices.
Many Malaysians, including millennials, continue to uphold customs such as giving and receiving forgiveness (maaf zahir dan batin) as well as giving out duit raya, which is an important aspect of Hari Raya.
Families still come together to perform the special prayers (solat sunat Aidilfitri) in mosques, and traditional Malay dishes are still prepared and shared with loved ones. The spirit of togetherness, generosity, and forgiveness that Hari Raya represents is cherished by Malaysians of all ages.
There is also a growing movement among millennials to preserve and revitalise traditional customs and practices associated with Hari Raya. Many millennials are actively seeking to reconnect with their cultural roots, appreciate the significance of traditional customs, and pass them down to future generations.
They may choose to incorporate modern elements into their celebrations while still maintaining the traditional essence of Hari Raya, such as using social media to share about their cultural heritage and using sustainable and eco-friendly practices in their festivities.
While doing so, the traditional Hari Raya customs can be preserved and experienced by the younger generations. In return, it will cultivate the following benefits:
- Cultural preservation: Maintaining Hari Raya traditions helps to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Malaysia and pass it down to future generations.
- Sense of identity: Traditional customs associated with Hari Raya provide Malaysians with a sense of identity and belonging to their cultural roots.
- Connection with family: Traditional Hari Raya practices, such as family gatherings and prayers, promote bonding and strengthen relationships among family members.
- Community cohesion: Traditional celebrations bring communities together, fostering a sense of togetherness and solidarity.
- Appreciation of heritage: Keeping Hari Raya traditions alive allows for the appreciation of the significance and beauty of traditional customs and practices.
- Cultural exchange: Incorporating modern elements while maintaining traditional customs allows for cultural exchange and the evolution of traditions.
- Sustainability: Emphasizing eco-friendly practices in Hari Raya celebrations can contribute to sustainable living and environmental conservation.
- Tourism and economic opportunities: Preserving cultural traditions can attract tourists and generate economic opportunities, promoting the local economy and tourism industry.
In conclusion, while the way Hari Raya is celebrated in Malaysia may change over the years, influenced by technological advancements and changing social dynamics, the essence and significance of the festival can be preserved and kept alive with efforts from the community, including millennials.
By valuing and maintaining traditional practices, incorporating modern elements, and passing down cultural heritage to future generations, Hari Raya can continue to be a meaningful and cherished celebration in Malaysia for years to come. Let us strive to appreciate and preserve the rich cultural traditions of Hari Raya as we embrace the changes of the modern world.
Selamat Hari Raya!