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CELEBRATING IDUL FITRI IN INDONESIA AND MALAYSIA

(Safira Pratiwi Satriyandinar, an Indonesian undergraduate with International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) who has been in the country for the last four years, shares with readers some of the similarities and the unique features of the eid-il-fitr celebrated in both countries.)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia The eid-il-fitr is celebrated grandly in Malaysia and Indonesia, with the later being the biggest Muslim nation in the world.

However, both countries celebrate in their very own way right from the start of Ramadan.

Growing up in South Jakarta, in the district of Kuningan, I have been through many eid-il-fitr episodes and will like to share with the readers how we Indonesians celebrate the big day and some of the biggest diffrences in the celebration when compared with Malaysia.

In Indonesia, known as idul fitri, the celebration spirit could be felt right from the start of Ramadan.

Welcoming Ramadan in Indonesia is not the same as in Malaysia. Indonesians recite the Takbir until late night, indicating the first day of Ramadan has begun but I see here the holy month starts subtly and the festivities gain momentum as eid-il-fitr gets closer.

I see that in Malaysia the Takbir is recited at mosques and suraus after Mahgrib on the eve of eid-il-fitr.

However, in Indonesia the Takbir scene is totally different. The Takbir turns more vibrant during the night on the eve of eid-il-fitr where Indonesians will go around the cities on buses reciting aloud the Takbir.

Some will also rent a bus or a truck and let the driver take them around the cities while they play the bedug drums and recite the Takbir.

The Takbir can be heard revebrating everywhere and is only interrupted intermittently by the noise of the fireworks.

STREET VENDORS

The month of Ramadan is also hive with business activities to cater for the needs of the fasting Muslims and in helping them prepare for the eid-il-fitr celebration.

Hence, in Malaysia Ramadan Bazaars mushroom all over the country in dedicated places selling a myriad of foodstuff and others.

In Indonesia there is no such a thing as Ramadan Bazaars. However, one could see a sharp increase in the number of street vendors, some peddling their offering on foot while others stationed at specific locations, during the holy month.

Their offerings are often limited to snacks like fried tempe, fried tofu, and drinks.

As for Muslims in Malaysia, they are not supposed to eat or drink in public until the time to break the fast even if they are not fasting for some genuine reasons.

However, in Indonesia, Muslim women who are exempted from fasting can still eat in public spaces.

Like in Malaysia, we too have our own balik kampung ritual every year known as mudik as Indonesians make the exodus to their hometowns and villages across the vast archipelago to celebrate with their families.

Cars, motorcycles, buses and trains are the most common mode of transport in getting back to their ancestral hometowns.

ALL IN WHITE

Right on the big day, like in Malaysia, Indonesians too appear in their new apparells.

However, it is the opposite in Indonesia when comes to dressing on eid-il-fitr.

I see the Muslim men don the Baju Melayu and the Muslim women the Baju Kurung in all hues and styles in Malaysia, but in Indonesia the dressing is rather mundane on the auspicious day.

There is no specific dress code for eid-il-fitr. T-shirts, long pants, gowns, dresses, robes and other forms of apparel can be seen, but they all have to be white in colour.

The white symbolises purity, and it is the colour of the day for the Indonesian masses.

Like in Malaysia, eid-il-fitr starts in Indonesia with congregational prayers at mosques and suraus, and then a visit to the graves of their loved ones.

We too exchange greetings and ask for forgiveness with one another like in Malaysia. We then hold open house for family members and close friends on the day only, unlike in Malaysia the open house functions are open to a bigger crowd and are extended up to the whole month of Syawal.

In Indonesia, the opor ayam and ketupat are the staple dish for eid-il-fitr while in Malaysia I love the the lemang, rendang, ketupat and satay served on the day.

The differences in the celebration between Malaysia and Indonesia is only a small matter.

As far as I’m concerned the eid-il-fitr is the day to look forward for all Muslims in coming together and strengthen the bonds among the ummah regardless of where they are.

Source: Nam News Network

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