Eid Rituals

Saturday, September 10, 2011
Ahhh *relaxing with my feets up*

Finally, it's the 11 Syawal and I can now properly continue blogging. How's my Eid, you may ask (or may not.. LOL)? So far, it was okay, quiet I shall say. I had a buzy Sunday tho' but now the festivity is simmering down.

I realised that all the years I had been blooging, I never actually explain or describe how we celebrate Eid here in Brunei. Well, this year, I'm gonna spill all the peas. I'm sharing what Bruneians Eid 'rituals' are and some of my own family 'rituals'.

1. A month before Eid
- Furniture businesses are booming very quickly with discounts! And Bruneians like to splurge (and showing off) new furnitures at least once a year on Eid.

2. A week before Eid
- Everywhere is packed! Especially if the salary is out. One good thing about our government is that salary is out earlier than usual to help the people prepare for the upcoming festivity. Hence, with extra money, every shopping complexs, supermarkets - big or small are totally jammed packed and the roads... fewhhh, if you don't have the patience, don't drive! That's all I can say. People are rushing everywhere to get their stuffs and businesses done before the Eid holidays.
- Fireworks everywhere! Some are pleasant and entertaining but some are just plain annoying... especially if it goes on till the late hours in the evening when everyone is in bed.

3. A day before Eid
- The famous and most sought after place are the fuel stations! Yup!! You would see long que of cars for miles (I kid you not!) just for drivers to top up their fuel tanks at EVERY fuel stations in Brunei. I still don't get this 'ritual'. I mean, it's not like the fuel stations won't open the whole Eid holidays. Yes, there are some fuel stations that close for 2 days, but it's so rare. I know 1 fuel station opens on the first day of Eid, mainly coz the fillers are non-muslims and as far as I observed, most fuel stations open for business on the second day of Eid.

4. Eid's eve
- For my family, we would only be buzy 'beautifying' our home on the Eid's eve. The ground floor is our main proriarity - 2 living rooms, dining room, guest toilet. These are the places we need to re-arrange the furnitures and trust me, it's easy when you have 3 masculine brothers to help you around LOL! Oh and on Eid's eve, you won't be able to sleep early. The earliest you can go to sleep is at midnight.
- Even more fireworks continue....

5. Eid's morning
- Woke up, take a bath with niat, dress in your new attire, off to the mosque for Sunat Aidilfitri prayer.
- Came back and wait for the whole family to gather. Salam and seek forgivness from the parents and the elders and in the process, green packets (with money in it) exchanges between hands =) For me and my family, we would wait for my eldest brother and his family to come then we would salam and seek forgivness from our parents. Oh! Family photo! It's a compulsory for every Eid. Eventhough it's just a normal home photo (not in some fancy studio), it's more than enough for us!
- For most Bruneians, the cemetries are the first pitstop after prayer. To pay our respects to the dead and how you wish they can celebrate the Eid with the family again. But who are we to defy God? For me and my family, we are going to the cemetry every Friday, hence our next pitstop would be my aunt's home. It's where my grandma stays and this year, it's my aunt turns to host the 'makan raya' or 'eid gathering'. At my aunt's place, it where all my dad's other 8 siblings and family gathered. It was so packed and noisy, of course! But it was fun!!

6. Eid's afternoon/night
- still at aunt's place... and move around to aunts' and uncles' homes. The main rituals for 1st day of Eid is to visit all the uncles and the aunts and the elders. By the time you came home, you would be drop dead tired but a tummy overload with food!

7. Visting
- Eid is when you forget all the past and try (very hard) to forgive others.. no matter what. It's an islamic month of forgiving after all. Relatives, friends and enemies visit each other, going from one house to another and you receive almost everyone into your home... who dress decently, of course! LOL!

8. Fashion show!
- LOL! I shouldn't call it that. But I couldn't help it! Eid is also when almost all the ladies would dress to impress! Fewwhh.. you would be amazed on how Bruneian ladies dress during Eid. To be honest, some look like christmas trees with all the decorations and 'lights'. Me? Nah! I'm just a simple lady with a sensible sense of fashion LOL!

9. Green packets
- It's not compulsory but somehow it's part of the 'rituals'. If chinese is using red packets, Muslim is using green packet. It is filled with either $1, $2, $3, $5 or $10. The most common notes are $1 and $2. Rarely give more than that. The purpose of green packet is to 'sedekah' or contribute with a sincere heart not to show off who (and which house) gives the highest green packet. And yes, there is an age limit to receive the green packet. I'm not exactly sure what's the age limit but if the host knows you are working, you are definitely won't receive any. If you are married, no way you would get any! LOL! Me? I stopped receiving mine years ago but my parents, they give to every children (except my married eldest brother) and grandchildren every year without miss =) Yes, I still receive mine from my parents. I told them not too but then, hey, who am I to refuse? LOL! And this year my aunt (suprisingly) gave me a green packet containing $10 note just specifically for me *blushing* I wonder why? haha.

10. Meet and greet with the Royal Family
- Oh! If you are a tourist coming to Brunei during Eid, you must not miss this opportunity. It's once in your lifetime, if ever! Starting 2nd Syawal, for 3 days, the Royal Palace - Istana Nurul Iman is open to public, every walk of life, to come to the palace, served with foods, meet and greet with the royal families. I don't mean to be biased but I heard only Brunei Royal Family open their wide palace doors to the public to meet and greet them personally during Eid. I'm proud to be a Bruneian!! But being an islamic country, the events take place at 2 separated halls; men would only be able to meet and greet with HM The Sultan and the Princes while the women would only be able to meet and greet HM The Queen and the Princesses. Honestly, I never been to the palace yet.. oppsss! Haha! I just couldn't stand the waiting and the que-ing and seeing the thousands of people at one time and place.

11. Open houses!
- If you are thinking of dieting during Eid, let me tell you, FORGET IT!! Haha! All your diet would be gone with open houses! Food! Food! Food! everywhere! Most houses nowadays have the open house concept. They set a date for all the friends and colleagues to come and fed them with foods! Oh, nevermind, you can go for your usual diet and exercise after Eid.. LOL!

12. Your friends list is increasing
- I don't know about the rest of you but I do! Every year! An example; 2 years ago, a friend come to my house with his friend and after that, the 3 of us become close friends. Last year, my 2 close friends brought 2 of their colleagues to my house and now, those additional 2 are my good friends. See? Eid does bring people together - in friendship and probably relationship ;) This year, 2 of them come with their girlfriends and we get along just fine.. now, I have friends from all walk of life... interesting =) Or if you go to a friend's open house, you would meet your friend's friend and you would be surprise how everything ends up! Messy but it was fun untangling them.. LOL

13. Roll cakes and biscuits
- Yummy! Eid is filled with all those yummy-licious cakes and biscuits. Bakers are getting competitive to be ahead with their products. But sometimes I wonder, where are they go once Syawal ends? I remembered craving for a type of biscuits before and couldn't get any. Now, I'm just enjoying it while it lasts.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri Everyone!
Maaf Zahir dan Batin!
I hope we will meet again next Syawal, InsyaAllah

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