What is Ramadan? Ramadan is the name of the one-month fasting period when Muslims fast for a period of almost 12 hours. They fast from dawn till sunset. It is a known fact that during the period of fasting, apart from eating and drinking Muslims are also forbidden from smoking and having sexual relations. Only the sick are excused from fasting during this month. Muslims are expected to avoid lying, breaking promise or cheating during the month of Ramadan. The primary purpose of fasting during Ramadan is to remind all Muslims of self-control and submitting to Allah, the holy one. Even young kids are taught to fast when they are young.
In a country like Malaysia where a lot of Muslims, Hari Raya preparations can be seen at least one month before the festival. Bazaars would be set up and they would be selling numerous festive items for Muslims. Carpets, clothes, bags, food, music CDs, household items and VCDs would also be sold. At night the place is lit up with glittering lights. There would also be a wide variety of food which would be sold at the fairs and they include kuehs, otah-otah, cakes, buns, breads, curry, noodles and even curry puffs. Most of the Muslims shop here to get the food to bring home to eat when they are breaking the fast. The time when the Muslims break the fast is usually around 7:15pm.
Celebration for Hari Raya Puasa starts at least a month ahead, during the fasting period of Ramadan. Women start to sew beautiful curtains and buy new clothes for the family. Some families also do renovation for the house so that the house would look better when the guests visit it during the festival. After fulfilling their one-month of fasting, the Muslims would be joyful to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa. On the morning of the festival, the Muslims would wear their new clothes and go to the mosque to pray. They offer their thanks to God and after that they would ask for forgiveness from their elders. This is an important custom followed by the Muslims.
They feel that the young ones asking forgiveness from their elders is very essential. On the day, they also visit their relatives and friends to celebrate the happy occasion. If you visit Muslims’ homes on Hari Raya Puasa you can expect to taste a wide variety of delicious spicy dishes. Some favorite dishes that can be found in Muslims homes on this special occasion are ketupat, lontong, nasi padang and beef rendang. The Muslims also have the habit of giving packets of money to kids when they go visiting. The packets are usually be in green color and children often look forward to getting these money tokens on Hari Raya Puasa. Overall, Hari Raya Puasa is a delightful festival for the Muslims.