Today is the third last day of fasting. Soon, Muslims in Malaysia especially, will be celebrating Aidil Fitri. Other than having Wifey with me, Hari Raya doesn’t mean much to me anymore.
Back in the early to mid-70s through the early 80s, Hari Raya is about going back to my maternal grandparents’ house in Kampung Jeransang. It is located along the Benta to Jerantut road – Mukim Tanjung Besar in Benta District. Those were the days when my cousin Harry and I would get chased by water buffalos after we pelt them with rocks, shoot bamboo cannons, get our fingers snapped by rat traps or bitten by Weaver Ants when we climb fruit trees. Then starting on the penultimate day of fasting, all of us, aunts and uncles included, would be cooking lemang, rendang, dodol and making cookies for the big day. At night, we’d be eating still while playing sparklers and firecrackers. The air would be filled with Hari Raya songs by the late Saloma and P Ramlee like “Selamat Hari Raya” (what else) and “Dendang Perantau.”
Nowadays, Hari Raya is much like any other festivities, and is far too commercialised for my liking. I don’t know what monster could eat up RM100++ worth of food for berbuka when I can whack the same amount in JB for less than 20% of that price. Hari Raya songs are being played in department stores a week before the commencement of fasting, and the fasting month is all about shopping, shopping, and shopping. Then comes the last minute bargaining for cookies and cakes along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and these cookies will be on the coffee table of a home until almost the next Hari Raya.
And as for my maternal grandparents’ home, my grandparents have left us all 10 years ago. My cousins are all married and some even have their grandchildren visiting them this Hari Raya. No more bamboo cannons and firecrackers. No more water buffalos as this generation does not want to work the rice fields anymore.
The romance of Hari Raya is all but gone forever.
And with that goes my mood too.