Survey finds celebrating Raya on small scale not a concern

Tadarus prayer at Kampung Pulau Melayu Miri mosque last year.

MIRI: Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration will be different this year as family and friends adhere to social distancing practices and celebrate the festive season among their close family members only.

A random survey found that Muslims here prefer to shy away from big gatherings in order not to expose themselves to Covid-19 infection and to comply with the standard operating procedure (SOP) set under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

A resident of Kampung Pulau Melayu Miri, Abdul Gafar Lamat in 50s, said this year’s Hari Raya would be totally different for his big family.

This is because they would only be celebrating it among themselves in line with the SOP and their other family members in Brunei would not be able to join due to the lockdown in the sultanate.

Abdul Gafar putting up colourful lighting at his sister’s house in Kampung Pulau Melayu Miri.

“Of course, this just means we must find new ways to celebrate Raya this year,” he said.

However, he added, his sister Habsah had baked a few cakes and a variety of biscuits for their family during Hari Raya, and it will only be a family affair with ‘ketupat’, ‘lemang’ and curry and beef prepared for the first day of the celebration.

There will also be less playing of fire crackers and only a handful of children are expected to play ‘mercun padi’ on the eve of Hari Raya, he said.

Sharing the same view is community leader Samion Gani, who said the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration symbolises the essence and values of the festivity such as victory in overcoming the challenges of Ramadan.

He said the holy month of Ramadan promotes honesty and peace of mind through prayers and blessings received, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.

“Family health must come first and celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri in a simple way is good enough this year as eradicating the Covid-19 pandemic is top priority, and Muslims must be prudent in spending their money as we don’t know what lies in the days ahead,” Samion said yesterday.

Though Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a very special occasion for Muslims to gather with families and friends in the spirit of love and forgiving, celebrating it on a small scale this year cannot be avoided to protect everyone from Covid-19, he stressed.

“We hope and pray the pandemic will stop so that we can go back to our normal routine,” he added.

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