A couple of days before Raya, I checked out the bazaar at Geylang with Qis and Xal. I chatted with a friend, Dinie, two weeks before about the bazaar and he shared with me that the place has lost its meaningful association with the month of Ramadan. Other friends’ Facebook statuses also resonated with his sentiments. But since it’s been years since I went to the bazaar and ‘cause I didn’t have any plans that night, I thought of giving it a try. And soon enough, I found it to be a bad idea and whined a little to Dinie –
Maybe I’m getting older and just can’t appreciate i) the crowd; ii) the spread of expensive but pretty looking food; and iii) exorbitantly charged inai. I don’t know. But I didn’t feel like spending much and didn’t enjoy window-shopping baju raya and such displayed at various stalls. Qis bought a twist potato, while I bought a few brooches and envelopes. And soon after, we headed home.
Fun fact: The envelopes I bought will later be filled with money and given to school-going children and youths, and elderlies on Raya. This ritual of giving out money is specific to Malay Muslim culture, an adaptation of the Islamic obligatory duty of zakat. It was really awesome when I collected duit Raya up till 3 years ago; it resembled a 13th month bonus for someone with no salary.
Once home, I convinced Xal to have turmeric and honey mix on her face and that was more exhilarating than walking around Geylang! She was laughing at how silly she looked with an orange face. Because the consistency of Mum’s honey was thinner than the one I have at home, the paste kept dripping off our faces and wouldn’t stop entering our mouths! It was hilarious, looking at Xal restraining hard to not open hers while laughing 😀
Azri reached Singapore the day after, and we wanted to check out the Tampines Hub’s bazaar that Dinie recommended. This was largely because Azri left his songkok at home, and didn’t have a spare one here. Unfortunately, it was closed already when we reached there. So, Azri decided to go songkok-less this year.
Cladded in brown on first day of Raya to match with my in-laws
I’ve been blessed to have all my Raya clothings to be bought by Mum and my mother-in-law, Mak. I told them repeatedly that I planned to just recycle old baju kurungs but they bought me new ones anyway just so that we would be in the same coloured clothes as a family. Felt so loved!
Left: Set-up of main dishes at my parents’; Right: The most authentic lepat ever! MY FAVOURITE!!! I was so happy to see it at Azri’s aunt’s! For some reason, Azri never ate it before so I made him try this yummilicious berlemak rice cake and he shared my love for it. These rare gems were to die for!
We didn’t come back to Singapore to celebrate Raya with our families last year, so it felt special to be around them again this year. We went through the customary tradition of asking for forgiveness from one another, ate authentic Malay dishes, and of course, took lotsa photos! It made our insides warm with affection and fatty food… First day of Raya was simply wonderful and beautiful 🙂
Black outfits for Saturday, when we were out with my maternal side
All pink on Sunday, when we visited Dad’s siblings
Azri flew back to Kolkata on the night of 30th, so he didn’t get to join me visit more relatives’ homes the next weekend. It felt a little weird not having him around, but being around cousins, aunts and uncles – some of whom I’ve not met for more two years – made up for it! So many funny and sad and crazy stories were shared and honestly, by the end of Sunday, my social battery went so flat I had keep mum for a few hours to reset. But prior to the social fatigue, it was absolute fun catching up and eating delicious food non-stop!
The annual family photo shot 😛
Raya lasts for a month, and I will be having another round of it next Sunday as some relatives have scheduled to visit my parents’ place. Looking forward to it!