Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is also commonly known as Hari Raya Puasa. In Malay the word Hari Raya means ‘A Great Day’ and Puasa derives from Sanskrit meaning ‘fasting or abstention’. So, Hari Raya Puasa literally means ‘great day of fasting’ or in actual terms ‘the festival marking the end of a period of fasting’.
One of the tenets of Islam is to fast during the month of Ramadan, ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar. This is a compulsory fast where faithful Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and other sensual pleasures from dawn to dusk. The virtuous aspects of life are emphasised during the month of Ramadan, a holy month.
Hari Raya Puasa is ascertained by the religious authorities by the sighting of the moon from several vantage points in Malaysia. The first day of Shawal, the tenth month of the Muslim lunar calendar is Hari Raya Puasa. Hari Raya Puasa is announced by the Keeper of the Royal Seal over all forms of media.
In Malaysia, Hari Raya Puasa is a public holiday celebrated over two days. It is ushered on the first day with prayers at the mosque early in the morning and a visit to the cemetery for prayers for the departed souls of loved ones. This festival marks an important time for Muslims to unite as a family in the exchange of love, blessings and forgiveness.