Celebrating Hari Raya in the New Normal

When it comes to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the first thing pops in my mind is always the cheerful voice of Dato’ Sudirman repeating “Balik Kampung” in the chorus of the song. Balik kampung is like the main course for Hari Raya, where small families return to their hometown and get together with the greater family (with all the relatives). It is the time when siblings and cousins can chat with each other while children can forget about mobile games and play kampung games together. 

This year, due to the ongoing pandemic Covid-19, obviously it would be a different Raya. 

There would be no balik kampung, no rumah terbuka, not even hand-shaking. If we can’t forego or adapt to the traditions and practices that we usually associate with, new Covid-19 clusters may appear anytime. We definitely won’t want the cheerful festival to be dimed by the pernicious virus. 

Fortunately, with a little help from technology, we still could enjoy and celebrate the festival fully. 

As shown in the commercial ads from Tenaga Nasional Berhad, there are many Raya traditions that we can maintain even under confinement. For instance, we can decorate our house, wear traditional clothes, cook traditional food, and hold prayers at home. 

While the conditional movement control order allows gatherings of up to 20 people at a time for celebrations, we may still want to avoid meeting people to maintain social distancing. After all, while new infections have been going down, there is a need to limit the risk of a second wave of the pandemic. Instead of exposing all your loved ones to the risk, why not have your open house virtually? 

Just set up a webcam, launch a video call, and send the video-call link to all your family members, relatives, and friends! They can dial-in anytime just like how they usually pay a ‘surprise visit’ to your house during Raya. 

Just like how Ayda Jebat’s song goes, “ada hati, raya menjadi-jadi”. The most important element in celebrating any festival is sincerity. Though being far apart, you still can deliver your heartfelt wishes to your loved ones with the help of internet. 

Let’s embrace the new normal and celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri fully! Dengan ingatan tulus ikhlas, maaf zahir batin. May your family be showered with health and prosperity. Have a joyous and blessed Hari Raya! 

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