Oil lamps light up Raya celebration in villages


  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 28 May 2020

Muhammad Ammar Asyraf Mamat Zaki Mia, five, (left) and his sister Nurul Syakila, 12, playing sparklers in their house compound decorated with oil lamps. — Bernama

KUALA NERUS: The desire to relive the nostalgic charm of Hari Raya Aidilfitri of the past era inspired the residents of several villages here to decorate their compounds with hundreds of oil lamps.

They arranged it in all sorts of shapes and design, replicating boats and cars, creating a mini-park, utilising unused old bicycles and Vespa motorcycles which lit up the villages, especially with the use of damar raya, a tall oil lamp made of coconut shells stacked up to 4m high.

A resident of Kampung Padang Air, Muhammad Jailani Harun, 50, said the tradition of lighting the oil lamps during Raya began in the 1980s and has turned brighter in recent years.

“My family and I took about a week to find the materials such as coconut shells and metal rods to construct the damar raya and put up over 250 oil lamps in our house compound.

“Our decorations attracted the attention of many passers-by who even stopped to take pictures.

“Of course, we always remind them to observe social distancing with no physical contact, ” he said when met at the village.

Muhammad Jailani was among the 60 residents who participated in the “Pelita Raya Online Beautiful Terengganu: 2020 Raya MCO Style” competition organised by Terengganu Tourism Department, which offered prizes totalling RM8,000.

A Kampung Padang Hangus resident, Zaleha Mat Amin, 58, said the oil lamp decoration has become an annual routine for Raya as she wanted to preserve the beautiful tradition for future generations.

“However, with the enforcement of the conditional movement control order (MCO) this year, my family and I only managed to replicate a boat and a giant lamp, with slogans ‘I Love Kampung Padang Hangus’ and ‘Stay at home, we must win’, ” she said, adding that it took them five days to assemble the decorations.

State tourism, culture and information technology committee chairman Ariffin Deraman, who visited both houses, was impressed by the creative efforts and dedication shown by the contestants.

“We included this competition in the 2020 Terengganu state tourism calendar but it could not be implemented due to the MCO.

“We are impressed to see the initiative and willingness of the contestants to sacrifice their time, energy and money to come out with the beautiful oil lamp decorations that indirectly helps promote tourism in Terengganu, ” he said. — Bernama

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