Raya Raya Raya. Selamat Hari Raya, Jalan Raya, Balai Raya
Literally - Raya = Besar. So Hari Raya = Hari Besar... Big Day to mark the end of Ramadhan.
In spirit, it's about.... hrmm... House decorated to the hilt. Special raya foods. Baju baru. Kuih Raya. Duit Raya (for the kids, at least) Forgiveness. Togetherness. Family....
Well, I think it's mainly about relationships. Especially family ties. It's the time when we take the trouble to go all across the country (or city) to visit people we don't often meet.
When we were young, we tagged along with our parents visiting people we barely knew. We took solace in playing with other kids and getting duit raya. As we grew older, we started communicating with the elders and learning to deal with life.
Currently, I visit relatives with my sister, paying our respects and keeping family bonds alive. It might not be enough, meeting people once a year, but I guess it's better than not at all...
I wouldn't go all the way down to Singapore if not for my 'darlings'. I'm so annoyed with the ridiculous things Singaporeans put us through just to visit once a year... Autopasses that need to be updated with our car road tax info and expires after five years. And I got a saman for parking at "season parking area" where there are no prominent signs... Urgh. Abang Ali told me to ignore it and fight back if they send me a letter. Hrmm. Menyusahkan betul.
This year the Suratman clan had a get together at Cik Jak's place in JB. We had the obligatory makan2 with original lontong, sambal goreng, lodeh, and so on and so forth. We had tahlil for those who were no longer with us, and doa selamat for Pak Ngah who was hospitalised. Of course, gatherings are filled with bantering and laughter when our gregarious crowd gets together.
Thankfully the drive back was smooth and we got home quite early. I'm pretty tired out after a week of constant munching and driving all over the place... It's not quite over, though. There are clothes to wash and things to straighten out.
There'll be more houses to visit in the weekends, mainly friends; but at least the high ranking elders have all been covered already. I don't think I'll have the energy to do a full blown open house because it usually means I'll have batches of people coming all day long... Maybe a simple tea on Sunday afternoon will do.