Keeping it simple again this year

Basic theme: Rohaya and Muhammad Firdaus preparing Raya decorations at their house in Pantai Jerejak. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: This Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Sarawakian Rohaya Abdul Shymed will again do a simple virtual get-together with her parents back home.

Although she has not been back to her hometown of Bau since September 2019, she said the safety of her family was paramount.

The 30-year-old, who works as an executive recruiter here, said she was resigned to the fact that she would not be able to celebrate Hari Raya with her parents again this year.

“I really miss them, my hometown and the local food. I am the only child and my heart aches that I cannot visit them.

“However, I’m really glad to know that everyone over there is safe, ” she said when met at her house in Pantai Jerejak.

According to her, Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Sarawak is celebrated differently with the festive mood lasting a week.

“For seven days in a row, right from the first day of Aidilfitri, we would put on our best traditional costumes.

“These costumes must be worn completely. For instance, the men must wear baju Melayu together with samping, ” she said.

Rohaya misses Sarawak delicacies such as kek lapis and daging masak hitam.

Her husband, Muhammad Firdaus Zarani, 31, who works as a runner, is expecting a simple celebration just like last year.

“We will probably spend the first day of Aidilfitri by joining my parents for a simple lunch or dinner at their home in Taman Free School.

“Then maybe we will catch up with my brothers and sisters who live in Ayer Itam, ” he said.

In the same neighbourhood, single mother Nurhidayah Abdul Manap, 35, also expects a simple celebration.

“I think this Aidilfitri will be like last year’s, less festive and quieter. We will not be doing any big or lively celebration due to economic concerns. It will be a simple gathering of myself, my mum, my 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, ” she said.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, her sisters and their families would come back from Kuala Lumpur and join them.

“It will be just us again this year, ” she said.

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