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Sunday September 6, 2009

In search of Baju Raya

Check out the Ramadan bazaars for great bargains on Baju Raya.

DURING the month of Ramadan, there is just no hiding the festive anticipation as Malaysians prepare for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.

As it has been the norm for many years now, Ramadan bazaars have sprung up everywhere with stalls selling anything from delicious food for buka puasa meals to greeting cards, clothes and other Raya accessories.

For Muslims, this is a month of repentance and new clothes for Raya are supposed to be only for the children. But looking at what’s on the family shopping list these days, it seems that adults are equally keen on getting new clothes for the festive period.

Furthermore, some families have adopted the practice of having a colour theme for their Raya attire. Thus, it has become fashionable for family members to wear clothes of the same colour, fabric and even design!

To check out the latest designs for the season, Sunday Metro went in search of affordable Raya goodies.

One place that never fails to impress is the long row of shops at Jalan Masjid India in Kuala Lumpur. This is “Little India”, the city’s original shopping heaven that dates back to over a century ago. Apart from Indian outfits there is a wide array of Baju Raya with affordable prices.

Noraini (left) and Farhana having a closer look at saree material to be used to sew baju kurung at Chennai Silk Palace in Klang.

The Baju Raya for females and males range from RM30 to slightly over RM100 and they are all ready made. Some of the Baju Raya even come with sequins and glued-on patches, and there’s a selection with Hello Kitty motifs, which should be a hit with little girls.

If you just want fabric, then make your way to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. The rows of textile shops here carry thousands of metres of materials with floral, geometric and even psychedelic patterns and colours. Depending on the material, it can cost from RM6 per metre upwards.

There are also kerongsang (brooches); head gear like songkok and kopiah (skullcap); scarves, shawls, golden bangles and other accessories for the ladies; tasbih (prayer beads); and, more importantly, fashionable shoes at affordable prices! Some of the shops at Jalan Masjid India even sell toys and Hari Raya greeting cards which play festive tunes. Some of the shops also give out free festive money packets if you spend a certain amount.

In Shah Alam, when it comes to traditional Malay garments, none can possibly beat Kompleks PKNS, which is located just opposite Taman Rekreasi Permai.

With over 50 stalls in the complex alone, you can find loads of Raya stuff like accessories, bags, traditional Malay cookies and cakes, apart from Baju Raya. Fabric on sale there include silk, cotton, chiffon, polyester and georgette.

If you’re looking for matching Baju Raya for your family, then Kompleks PKNS is the place for you. The garment prices start from RM25 upwards, depending on the style and material. What’s even more important is the fact that some of the sellers will do alterations on the garments. But this must be done early as the traders will not entertain you closer to the Raya celebrations.

A bazaar Ramadan at Terengganu Trade Centre, Kuala Terengganu, with its array of tudung fabric.

On the ground floor of the complex, you can shop for festive decorations like decorative lights, pelita, ketupat skin, Raya packets and paintings. There are even festive covers for car seats and interesting tissue boxes to brighten up your car or house.

While silks, chiffons, cotton and georgette remain the fabric of choice among ladies for their baju kurung and baju kebaya, of late there has been a growing demand for sarees as well.

Previously, it was very rare to see Malay customers entering saree shops but today, they get at least between 30 and 100 customers daily, says V. Thanasegaran, managing director of Chennai Silk Palace, which retails sarees sourced from Suret, India.

Taking full advantage of this new demand, his store has also employed two tailors to sew the baju kurung for their customers.

One customer, fourth year medical student Noraini Abdul Mulalek, says she bought some sarees recently and had them made into baju kurung.

Dressing up Daddy: There are many songkok styles to choose from at the bazaar Ramadan stalls.

“I find it cheaper than buying the ready-made baju kurung,” she says, adding that she plans to get more of the same for her baju kurung outfits this coming Raya celebrations.

Noraini’s friend Farhana Fuad, a final-year student at Universiti Malaya, says she became interested in the saree baju kurung after seeing other people wearing them.

“It is very colourful and there is a wide choice of colours. I am also going to buy saree fabric to make into baju kurung,” she says.

Thanasegaran says the sarees cost between RM30 and RM100 and he has designated a special counter in his shop at Jalan Istana, Klang, to handle customers.

He notes that many Malaysians, irrespective of race, wear baju kurung these days and many are also making the attire with sarees.

“Indians usually prefer dark red, maroon and blue, the Chinese like lighter colours, and the Malays often chose shiny material with lots of sequins,” he says.

One-stop shopping

Tesco Extra Shah Alam

Find Baju Raya and house decorations at the Ramadan Bazaar here. Outside the building, there are several stalls selling carpets, paintings, toys, plants and perfume bottles. Baju Raya prices range from RM29 to RM99.

Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam

There are several shops here that sell Raya items. The Baju Raya prices range from RM30 to RM70.

Jusco Bandar Utama

Find great bargains in the comfort of an air-conditioned environment. The Baju Raya prices range from RM40 to RM100.

Ramadan bazaars

Some of the shopping complexes that have these bazaars annually are:

  • Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur
  • The Curve, Mutiara Damansara, Selangor
  • 1 Utama, Selangor
  • Sunway Pyramid, Selangor
  • Ampang Park, Kuala Lumpur
  • Ampang Point, Kuala Lumpur
  • Hartamas Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur
  • Alpha Angle, Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur
  • Carrefour, Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur
  • Giant, Kelana Jaya, Selangor
  • Nilai 3, Negeri Sembilan
  • South City Plaza, Seri Kembangan, Serdang, Selangor
  • Maju Junction, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur
  • The Mall, Jalan Putra, Kuala Lumpur
  • Wisma Yakin, Jalan Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur
  • Semua House, Jalan Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur
  • Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur
  • Great Eastern Mall, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

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