THE Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration was still a lively affair for Azeman Ariffin and his family despite featuring fewer than 20 people this year.
With generous portions of home-cooked food and a variety of Raya biscuits, the family had a great time in the closed doors celebration.
The gathering was replete with food and laughter, with the family having so much fun together.
“There are only 17 of us celebrating a simple Raya this year. In previous years, there were easily more than 20 people in the house.
“The experience is different this year but we still feel good and connected, as we have never had this experience before.
“This is especially for the prayers we had in the early morning, as we are all used to doing that at the mosque.
“This year, we had our own family member leading the prayers at home. We did prayers together in the morning, and enjoyed lunch together,” said Azeman, 56, who is self-employed, when met at his home in Jalan P. Ramlee on Sunday.
As part of the move to curb the spread of Covid-19, the government only allowed visits on the first day of Raya, on condition that the standard operating procedure (SOP) was observed, including limiting visitors to 20 people, practising social distancing and maintaining hygiene.
Azeman’s niece, Farah Aniis Azeera Azeman, 25, said her family was reacting positively to the celebration this year.
“We believe there is always good behind the bad things that are happening. Although we did not put up Raya decorations or celebrate with a large number of guests, I think we can all say that we are still enjoying the celebration this year.
“To our family, being able to gather like this is an experience we never had. It has brought us closer,” she added.
Part-time worker Jamaludin Murad, 44, said it was a simple celebration this year involving only his wife and five children.
“We did not even put up Raya decorations this year.
“This is because we are doing only a simple celebration this year, as we cannot cater to large crowds and visits.
“It is a simple lunch and dinner for my family and I this year, as we sit together and bond through the meals and some television shows.
“This year, we are doing a simple makan-makan with some home-cooked bihun soup, rice, curry and store-bought lemang.
“We only prepared portions enough for our own family, as we are not expecting any guests.
“My brothers and sisters are likely staying home too, so we will celebrate this Raya with our own family until things get better,” he said.
Meanwhile, a dozen policemen knocked on the doors of 30 village houses in Kampung Makam to ensure those celebrating Raya abided by the rules under the conditional movement control order (MCO).
Jalan Patani police station chief Asst Supt Halimin Salli said random inspections were conducted and there were no violations of conditional MCO.
“All the vehicles in the village bear local number plates. There were no visitors from other states
“Those who visited in the day were just close family members living within Penang,” he said, adding that police had been monitoring “house visits” in various areas for the past few days.
On Sunday, the police and Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) personnel conducted checks on 200 houses in Ayer Itam during the first day of Raya.
Ayer Itam police station chief Asst Supt Mohamad Fazly Abdullah said they were patrolling to ensure that the people were adhering to the SOP for festive visits.
“We visited some 200 houses and found that the residents here did comply with the SOP for the conditional CMCO.
“Each household is confined to having no more than 20 people at any one time, depending on the size of their premises,” he told reporters during the visit on Sunday.
He added that nine policemen, including an officer and another ATM personnel had been tasked to patrol the area every day during the festive season.
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