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November 30, 2009

Southeast Asia: Hari Raya Puasa

At Richard D. Lewis's fine Cross-Culture, see "Malaysia: An 'Open House' Tradition", by Martin Králik, on the Eid al Fitr holiday as practiced in Malay culture. Eid is a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Excerpts:

Thanks to the staggering growth in Malaysia’s prosperity over the past thirty years, however, the core festival alone has evolved into a lavish, week-long celebration. The follow-up social activities fill up everyone’s calendar for several weeks.

In the morning of the first day of Hari Raya, people ask forgiveness of their parents and siblings for any slights they may have committed or harsh words uttered in the past year.

The Malay psyche is marked by humility and being closely in touch with one’s emotions: the sight of adults kneeling on the floor in front of a parent and weeping openly is not uncommon even among Westernized, UK- and Australia-educated professionals.

Posted by JD Hull at November 30, 2009 08:54 AM


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