Convenience or connection? Malaysians debate the merits of Raya Dekat and Raya Jauh

The emotional tapestry of Raya celebrations

10 Apr 2024 12:02pm
Raya Dekat vs Raya Jauh: A tale of two celebrations - BERNAMA FILE PIX
Raya Dekat vs Raya Jauh: A tale of two celebrations - BERNAMA FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - With the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims nationwide eagerly await the joyous celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, a time marked by festivities, contemplation, and family reunions.

For many, Aidilfitri entails reuniting with family and loved ones, whether through short visits within the city or longer journeys back to their hometowns.

The juxtaposition between the intimate gatherings of 'raya dekat' and the heartfelt reunions of 'raya jauh' encapsulates the diverse experiences and emotions woven into this cherished holiday.

Whether it's a leisurely stroll through neighborhood streets or an epic voyage across the country, each journey is laden with anticipation, weaving a tapestry of reunion, resilience, and the timeless spirit of Aidilfitri.

'Raya Dekat':

Muhd Irsyad Ramli, a 30-year-old Data Executive, finds delight in celebrating Aidilfitri close to home, relishing the convenience and quality time spent with relatives.

"For me, the allure of 'raya dekat' lies in its simplicity. It allows me to visit multiple homes in a short span, fostering meaningful connections with relatives from both sides of the family.

"I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate Aidilfitri festivities nearby, free from the hassle of traffic jams, enabling me to enjoy the occasion to the fullest," he remarked.

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Irsyad stressed that the joy of Aidilfitri stems from being surrounded by loved ones, irrespective of the location.

Responding to whether he prefers 'raya dekat' or 'raya jauh,' he admits to a mix of sentiments, acknowledging the unique charm of both.

"While I cherish the vibrant atmosphere and diverse culinary offerings of celebrating Aidilfitri in the city, I also relish the scenic road trips to the village," he said.

Fazrel Qhan, a 33-year-old Marketing Executive, echoed Irsyad's sentiments, highlighting the tranquility and leisure afforded by celebrating Aidilfitri nearby.

"The absence of traffic congestion allows for a stress-free journey back to my hometown, enabling me to enjoy every moment without rush," he said.

Fazrel pointed out that the joy of Aidilfitri lies in cherishing the moments spent with family, irrespective of the location.

He highlighted that the misconception that celebrating Aidilfitri nearby is less enjoyable is unfounded, asserting that the company of loved ones is paramount.

'Raya Jauh':

Nur I’ffah Najihah, a 27-year-old postgraduate, cherished the tradition of travelling long distances to her village for Aidilfitri celebrations.

"The essence of 'balik kampung' lies in reuniting with family across generations, sharing meals, and creating cherished memories," she said.

Despite the challenges of long-distance travel, I’ffah stressed the joy derived from the journey itself, from encountering fellow travellers to relishing the festive atmosphere.

"Although the financial burden and time spent on the road can be significant, the joy of reconnecting with family and the warmth of the village ambiance make it all worthwhile," she affirmed.

Arianna Zumlie, a 23-year-old trainee in gas business finance and risk, shared I’ffah's sentiments, acknowledging the love-hate dynamic of long-distance travel for Aidilfitri.

"While the logistical challenges of travel can be daunting, the opportunity to bond with family during the journey is invaluable," she said.

Arianna highlighted the joy of embarking on a family road trip, relishing the camaraderie and festive spirit.

Despite the occasional fatigue and traffic congestion, Arianna acknowledged the profound joy of celebrating Aidilfitri with loved ones.