Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the first day of the Muslim month of Syawal which marks the end of Ramadhan, the month during which Muslims fast. It is a day of celebration when families and extended families give thanks to Allah as they reunite and visit.
During the month of Ramadhan, Muslim observe a strict fast and avoid indulgences, focusing instead on activities that promote spiritual renewal, such as giving to charity, avoiding confrontations, encouraging reconciliations and spreading peace, love, compassion and the spirit of brotherhood. The Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in Ramadhan. Devout Muslims recite the whole Quran and reflect on the teachings of the beloved holy book during this sacred month.
On Hari Raya Aidilfitri day Muslims rise early and go to the mosque for a short prayer, followed by a khutbah or sermon held especially for the day. The festivities and merriment start after prayers with visits to the homes of relatives and thanking God for all the blessings and spiritual upliftment during a whole month of fasting. Special foods are prepared and shared. Adults and especially children wear their best from head to toe. Children receive duit raya (money in envelopes).
In Malaysia, Hari Raya is also a time for making amends. Family members ask for each other’s forgiveness early in the morning. Throughout the day, family and friends greet each other with ‘maaf zahir batin’ (forgive me in body and spirit).