Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hari Raya Puasa

Our Muslim friends celebrated Hari Raya Puasa yesterday. Just like to share with you the meaning behind this festival.
Often mistaken as the New Year for the Muslim, it is actually the 10th month of the Muslim Calendar known as Shawal. Hari Raya Puasa is an occasion for celebration following a month of fasting(Ramadhan).

Prayers followed by a thanks-giving feasts are held in mosques on the morning of the occasion. It is a time of forgiveness within the Muslim community and a time for strengthening of bonds amongst relatives and friends. New clothes, decorated houses and exchange of invitations between friends and relatives commemorate Hari Raya Puasa. Children salam (greet) their parents on the morning of Hari Raya Puasa and ask for forgiveness and blessings.

The celebration of the festival extends to a month where importance is placed on the first three days. During the three days Muslim homes have an "open house" policy where friends and relatives visit. It is also customary during this period that graves of departed souls are visited and they are remembered in prayers.

The Malays would greet each other with Selamat Hari Raya, which means "happy day of joy" and the Indian Muslims would say Eid Mubarak, meaning "blessings of the holy day".
The Muslims follow the lunar calendar as opposed to the solar calendar and therefore the dates on which Hari Raya Puasa falls varies each year.

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