6 Tips For The Raya Spirit If You Can't Make It Home

By Syakirah Jun 21, 2017 802 Views

        It is finally the last day of Ramadan, come tomorrow; you would be feasting on the most delicious and once-in-a-year treats surrounded by family you haven’t seen all year. Or so it should have been!

Sometimes in our journey, we might not always be able to be with family and be at home for Hari Raya. Are you studying abroad? That ticket might be a little bit too heavy on your pockets. You’re studying at a boarding school within the country but nobody is able to pick you up? It’s okay, these things happen.

Sure, Hari Raya is all about family, family and family. But it doesn’t mean that being away from them should stop you from celebrating with your family away from home – your friends! If you’re feeling all bummed out about not being able to make it home, here are 6 tips for the Raya spirit to help you make the best of it, even if you’re hundreds of miles away.

1. The Rendang Brings Everyone To The Yard


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"If your tummy is satisfied, your heart will be too"

Aside from family and the spirit of togetherness, you have to admit, the number one thing that is compulsory on Hari Raya is the food! If you’re studying abroad and you find yourself missing the savoury taste of Rendang, get racing to the nearest store and make your own rendition of Rendang!

Not only it’s great for the taste buds, but eating traditional food that is synonymous with Hari Raya can get you into the Raya spirit and ease the blues of being away from home.

If Rendang is too complicated, hey, there are always Raya cookies! It’s certainly not difficult to make the classic honey cornflake cookies or even a simple pineapple tart. Get cooking (or baking) and bring all your Raya favourites to your home away from home. Come the first of Syawal, get together with friends and have a feast, just like how it is back home.

2. Get Out of The T-shirt & Jeans



"Time to bring out the colours"

Baju Raya is what gets you in the feel of Raya. Nothing quite signify the Raya morning than getting all freshened up and putting on your best baju kurung or baju melayu.

It’s Raya, ditch the shirt and jeans for a change. If you’re based in a foreign land, this is the best time to display our proud cultural heritage and stop traffic wherever you go. Often in every family there would be a colour theme that everyone adheres to, get your friends to do the same! Embrace the Malaysian in you and wear our traditional clothes proudly. 

3. Sing Along



"There's definitely a few Raya songs already playing in your head"

“Whoa whoa whoa, balik kampung!”

If you read that line and the loud, cheery and festive music doesn’t automatically start playing in your head then you’re forgetting a very important part of Raya! What is Raya without re-playing the classic Sudirman's Balik Kampung for the billionth time?

Our local Raya songs are the best – they can make you cry and laugh at the same time. Most importantly, these classics are only played once a year and they really get you in the mood.

So if you can’t make it back home this Raya, this is the next best thing to get you in that Raya feel. You can bring Raya to you by blasting out the classic Raya songs and sing along. We guarantee that you’ll feel right at home in a second!

4. Eid Prayers



"Time to appreciate our blessings."

You know it's Raya when you hear the call for prayer resonating through the still morning air. This once a year call to prayer is distinctive – it brings a certain feeling and the nostalgia that comes with it is far greater than you can imagine.

Maybe this is the part that will hit a chord in your chest and make you feel a little blue, after all, you know fully well that when the Eid call to prayer resonates aloud in the air, this is when fathers, sons and brothers would put on their ‘kopiahs’ and head over to the mosque, marking the first of Syawal.

Join the nearest mosque for Eid prayers to truly kick-start your Raya celebration - just like how they do it back home. After all, the bigger part of it is to celebrate and welcome the month of Syawal and bid the holy month of Ramadan goodbye.

5. Watch The Moon



"Let's give our necks a little stretch in the breeze"

Traditionally, back at home on every last night of Ramadan, we would all gather in front of the TV screen or radio and wait for the announcement on the 'Anak Bulan' sighting.

It’s always set at the same time, 9.00PM right after the daily news. This nostalgic activity is something that we do from one generation to another; there’s just something about the anticipation and excitement that brings people together. Who could ever forget that elating feeling when the “Anak Bulan” sighting is announced and Raya is confirmed to be on?

If you’re not back at home this Raya, get your friends to come over on the last night of Ramadan. It doesn't matter if you're in Paris or America, get your buddies together and sit back for the announcement.

The moment you hear the words declaring; “1st of Syawal falls tomorrow” you wouldn’t be able to help yourself but to cheer – just like back home.

6. Ketupat and Cut-outs


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"With the decors up, no way can you resist the mood"

No space to hang lanterns and oil lamps in your home away from home? Or maybe you just can’t exactly find Raya décor where you’re at? It’s alright, there are plenty of ways to get creative and recreate the Raya feel in your home in your home away from home.

Sit down with your friends and get back to basic with your DIY. If you can’t find lanterns and oil lamps, print out cute, cheery photos of ketupats, the moon, the stars and everything else that screams Raya to you.

Get the decorative ketupats out and channel that inner interior designer in you to get your home ready for 1st of Syawal. By the time you are done, you might not even feel the distance, after all!

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