With the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri approaching on Sunday, we can’t help but feel that this year’s celebrations will certainly be different from previous years.
Since returning to hometowns has been prohibited due to COVID-19, some Malaysians are stuck in the cities, away from their parents and grandparents who live in the village or kampung. Social distancing measures will also drastically change the ways we observe special occasions; with fewer people, less noise, and less warm hugs altogether.
But let’s not let the virus season dampen eid festivities. Here’s how you can celebrate Raya to the fullest without breaching social distancing measures.
Up to 20 people per gathering
Malaysians will be allowed to visit friends, neighbors, and relatives within the same state on the first day of Hari Raya, which racks up to 24 hours worth of catching up with your best friends!
However, a maximum of only 20 people will be allowed to gather in one home as long as groups respect social distancing measures. This means that homes that are too small to host 20 people sitting or standing at least a meter apart will need to reduce the headcount or risk having the police or military come knocking on their doors.
Meanwhile, patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are advised to stay home.
Wear a mask at all times
So what if your mask doesn’t match your baju raya? Local Malaysian fashion brands like Behati and Nala Designs have come up with stylish face masks you can use to make a fashion statement and show off your Raya OOTD on Instagram while staying safe from the virus.
Salam from afar
Greeting or giving salam when we meet our loved ones this year will be a tad different due to social distancing.
Before self-isolation, it was common to see people shaking hands and kissing cheeks when they meet. This year, let’s find ways to salam from afar and minimize contact, especially when greeting those vulnerable to COVID-19 like the elderly.
According to Malaysia’s Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah, 50 percent of COVID-19 deaths were victims aged 60 years old and above.
One option would be to stretch out our hands and then hold it over our hearts.
Utilize video calls
As for those who will be separated from their elders, we feel your heartache. Raya just won’t be the same without everyone under one roof, baking cookies and exchanging duit raya. Thankfully, there’s video conferencing.
Call your loved ones up this Raya via Zoom, Skype, or other video conferencing platforms. Zoom allows up to 49 on-screen participants while WhatsApp is testing a feature to accommodate up to 50 people per video call.
Use e-wallets to send ‘duit raya’
Traditionally, adults would give children money during the festive occasion in the form of cash sealed in envelopes.
But in this era of self-isolation, that seems impossible. So why not choose to send duit raya electronically through e-wallets? There are many e-wallet apps out there, including GrabPay, Boost, Maybank, and Touch n’ Go.
Most of these apps will feature services for sending and receiving duit raya. Plus, it’s more environmentally-friendly than the traditional way of giving raya money since we would be using much less paper.
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