Hari Raya Puasa is the most significant festival for the Muslims as it marks the end of the fasting month. Also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Hari Raya Fitrah, the day is most significant as it includes two of the five tenets of Islam: to fast during Ramadhan, and to pay the zakat fitrah – alms tax.
After a month of fasting, Muslims celebrate the first day of Syawal which is the 10th month of the Muslim calendar with joyous enthusiasm. By the eve of Hari Raya Puasa, Muslims would have paid their alms tax which is then distributed to the poor.
Muslims usher in the day by congregating early in the morning in the mosques to perform the Hari Raya Puasa prayers followed by visits to the graves of the departed.
It is also the time for family reunions when people gather to forgive and forget past quarrels. It is every Muslim’s religious virtue to ask for pardon on this day and this is done in order of family seniority.
The festive mood is reflected with the lighting of oil lamps. These oil lamps are lit starting from the 20th day of Ramadhan, the night when the Koran was sent down, right through the actual Hari Raya Puasa day itself.
All mosques and homes are decorated and brightly lit with illuminations to mark the significant day.
Hari Raya Puasa lasts for a month and although the first three days are celebrated on the grandest scale, many Muslims hold “open-house” throughout the month for friends who could not visit during the three days.
“Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!”