You don’t want to miss your opportunity to gorge on good food and feast your eyes on colourful traditional costumes.
The Muslim holiday, Eid, is upon us and in Singapore it is referred to as Hari Raya Puasa. We’ve told you what you need to know about Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore and if you’ve been invited to join in Hari Raya celebrations at someone’s home, we answer some of the questions you might have.
A baju kurung inspired outfit. image
There are no restrictions whatsoever on what colours you can and cannot wear. But you should ideally be dressed modestly. Let’s just say this is not the time for cleavage and thighs or anything tight-fitting.
You don’t have to be dressed in the traditional baju kurung but if it’s something you’ve always wanted to try, this is a perfect occasion to rock one. (It’s really comfortable and ladies, it looks good any practically anyone.)
No. It’s not necessary and it’s not a common practice for Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore.
You can choose to prepare duit raya for the kids, especially your host’s kids. Read more about it here.
If you’re invited to an Open House, you can generally arrive anytime but you might want to check with your host if they have a preference just to be sure.
The obvious answer would be to ring the doorbell or knock on the door. But if the front door is left open and there are already other guests who saw you at the door, don’t worry, someone will inform the host about your arrival.
Bonus tip: If you get a little lost trying to locate the flat or apartment, it’s mostly likely the one with fairy lights decorated outside and a lot of shoes at the entrance.
And yes, please remove your footwear before entering the home. It is very, very, unlikely that your hosts wear shoes indoors. It’s fine if you want to leave your socks on.
Your host might offer a handshake or clasp your hand but don’t be offended if a person from the opposite sex refuses as some people feel that any kind of physical contact between a man and woman who are unrelated is improper. But some may be okay with it, so just play by ear.
The nature of hosting an open house means the hosts are usually busy but naturally, they will try to attend to their each of their guests. There may be other guests when you get there but you’ll be shown to your seat either at the dining table or on the couch in the living room. Don’t be surprised to see guests sitting on the floor — it’s totally cool. (In some cases, family members who are close to the host may also enter bedrooms if there’s no space in the common areas.)
At this time, your host or someone in the family will probably serve you something (non-alcoholic) to drink. If you’re asked if you want a hot or cold drink, they’re trying to ask if you prefer coffee/tea or soft drinks.
Not really. Sometimes, your host may not have the time to introduce you to everyone but you can just offer smiles and it’s also okay to engage in some small talk. Sometimes the entire house is a little loud and rowdy as family members catch up with each other in a festive mood — it’s normal.
There will probably be a buffet spread of yummy Malay food such as ketupat (pictured), lemang, lontong, and rending. Find out what they are here. Your host may also choose to switch it up a little or add other types of food on the side, so you might be in for a surprise. (I once had pizza at a house visit during Hari Raya.)
And you’ll be invited to help yourself to the array of kuihs, cookies, cakes and other snacks which were made or bought specially for the occasion (pictured). Your host may point out which ones they personally made (or were made by family members). Taste those and share your verdict. And try not to hog a particular kuih even if you absolutely love them. It would be polite to leave some for other guests even if your host insists they have more to refill.
And yes, you can be rest assured everything that is served is halal.
Anything with pork, pork products, and alcohol as they are forbidden in Islam.
You might see some guests doing this but you always ask for cutleries or find them at the buffet table.
I guess you could but it might come across as being impolite. You can have a small portion but your host will probably encourage you to have more.
Erm, that’s about it, really. You’re not expected to stay for a specific period of time so you can make your move when you’re ready especially when there are new guests visiting or the home seems a little overcrowded with guests.
Before you leave, your host may seek forgiveness as this is a common practice (read all about it here) and you might hear the term “Maaf Zahir dan Batin” which loosely translates to seeking forgiveness from the inside out. You should reciprocate and it’s fine to apologise in English.
If you brought your kids with you, they will likely receive duit raya from your hosts and maybe other guests who are there.
And there you have it. You’ve survived your first Hari Raya Puasa house visit.
Selamat Hari Raya from all of us at The Finder!
By Muneerah Bee, July 2016 / Updated by Melodi Ghui, June 2019