Hari Raya Puasa 2012 in Southeast Asia: The Beauty, The Significance, The Celebration!


Hari Raya Puasa or Eid ul-Fitr, the celebration that falls when the month of fasting is over, is one of the biggest and most beautiful Muslim festivals in Southeast Asia!

If you’re looking for a festival in Southeast Asia where you can indulge in traditional cuisines, get the best taste of shopping and enjoy the vibrant beauty and tranquility of the Islamic culture and way of life, then Hari Raya Puasa is a must-see festival for you!

Geylang Serai Hari Raya Lights in Singapore

Geylang Serai Hari Raya Lights in Singapore

Southeast Asia is an exotic land with a vast diversity in terms of religions, cultures and people, and is ideal for folks who prefer to see and experience the new and the different without bias.

Like Wesak Day or the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa is one great way to make new friends, enjoy the flavors of Southeast Asia, take in the sights and sounds on the streets and grab the opportunity for some amazing shots!

Start planning your trip to Southeast Asia for Hari Raya Puasa here!

Hari Raya Puasa, Japan

Hari Raya Puasa, Japan

Significance of Hari Raya Puasa

Hari Raya Puasa, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, is the celebration that falls on the first of the tenth month in the Islamic Calendar. It follows the sighting of the new moon to signify the end of Ramadhan, the month of fasting for all Muslims. Hari Raya Puasa celebrations begin as soon as the moon is sighted in the evening, which makes a very interesting experience for all tourists who are on the streets!

Grand Mosque, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Grand Mosque, Banda Aceh, Indonesia © mad.khoiri

Once the month of Ramadhan starts, the preparations for Hari Raya Puasa also begin. Hari Raya Puasa is important to Muslims because it is a festival of triumph and signifies that every time the Almighty tests a person, the end is also in sight.

For a Muslim, fasting in the month of Ramadhan is a necessity aimed at teaching one to be humble, aware of God and to understand how people from all walks of life live. The end of this month of fasting is celebrated in different ways in different countries in Southeast Asia.

When Will Hari Raya Puasa 2012 Be Celebrated?

Since the Islamic lunar calendar is quite standard, all countries in Southeast Asia will be celebrating Hari Raya Puasa at almost the same time, which is why you may only be able to capture this festival in one country!

Hari Raya Puasa, Malaysia

Hari Raya Puasa, Malaysia

Hari Raya Puasa 2012 will be celebrated on the first of Swayal which may correspond to the 19th or 20th of August 2012. If you’re planning to capture this festival this year, you might want to start planning your trip to Southeast Asia now!

Celebrating Hari Raya Puasa

In most Southeast Asian countries, Hari Raya Puasa is a national holiday filled with excitement and happiness. On the morning of this celebration, the Muslims perform a ritualistic cleaning, after which they dress up in white (for the men) and lovely colorful dresses (women). The men then leave for the mosque to pray the Eid-Ul-Fitr prayer and then listen to the two Khutbahs (speeches made the mosque’s Imam that signify two Rakaats of the Eid Prayer). At the mosque, it is a meet, greet and congratulate scenario, where everyone embraces each other in the spirit of Islam.

Crystal Mosque, Terengganu, Malaysia

Crystal Mosque, Terengganu, Malaysia

After this, breakfast is a lavish affair, where traditional dishes such as Ketupat are prepared in abundance and partaken in joy. Hari Raya Puasa, in all the countries in Southeast Asia, is symbolized by a few specific traits: visiting graves of family, visiting relatives and friends, seeking forgiveness from elders, giving Zakaat ul Fitr (alms to the poor) and giving money, sweetmeats and gifts to children and neighbors.

In some countries, Hari Raya Puasa is celebrated by lighting lamps to welcome the angels who visit earth in Ramadhan, eating traditional Malay delicacies such as Ketupat, Nasi Padang and Lontong. If you get a chance to be in a Muslim household during Hari Raya Puasa, don’t give up this opportunity to try out these sizzling hot spicy delights!

Best Places to Celebrate Hari Raya Puasa in Southeast Asia

The best destinations to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa in Southeast Asia are the countries where there is a strong Islamic influence: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Philippines. Since most other Southeast Asian countries have a minority of Muslims, you might not get to experience this festival in the whole of its glory!

Hari Raya Puasa in Malaysia

Malaysia, one of the only majority Muslim population countries in Southeast Asia, celebrates Hari Raya Puasa extravagantly! The women of the household begin preparations early in Ramadhan to make the house look good: by sewing curtains, cleaning the entire house from top to bottom and buying new clothes for the festival.

Hari Raya Festival Costumes, Malaysia

Hari Raya Festival Costumes, Malaysia

Almost all of the cities in Malaysia celebrate Hari Raya Puasa pompously, so you can get a glimpse of it everywhere you go! Start planning your trip to Malaysia here, if you want to check out Hari Raya Puasa 2012 in Southeast Asia!

Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore

Another Southeast Asian country with a significant Muslim population, Singapore is a feast for the eyes and the senses during Hari Raya Puasa. One of the significant spots to be when you’re in Singapore before the festival is Geylang Serai, a famous spot where Muslims gather and lots of selling and buying takes place.

Hari Raya Bazaar, Geylang Serai

Hari Raya Bazaar, Geylang Serai

Try the food in the evenings when the fast breaks at sunset. The delicious otah-otah, kuehs, ketupat, pineapple tarts, Malay curries and sweet buns will give you a sensory extravaganza you’ll never forget! Singapore in Ramadhan and during Hari Raya Puasa is a festival of lights. Don’t miss it! Plan your trip to Singapore for Hari Raya Puasa here!

Lebaran in Indonesia

Hari Raya Puasa is integrally known as Lebaran in Indonesia, and is a national holiday of massive proportions. On Lebaran, all employees get a salary bonus, which helps account for its popularity with the masses! When Hari Raya Puasa comes around, Indonesia is home to one of the biggest temporary mass migrations of people, since many employees go off to visit families in the villages!

Flickering golden lamps (pelita), delightful traditional cuisines and lovely expressions of faith in the form of Qasidas: this is what you get if you go for Hari Raya Puasa in Indonesia! Check out some hotels in Indonesia here!

Hari Raya Puasa, Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, Indonesia

Hari Raya Puasa, Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, Indonesia

Eid-ul-Fitr in Philippines

While the majority population of the Philippines is distinctly Christian, Hari Raya Puasa (commonly known as Eid-ul-Fitr) is still celebrated by the Muslim community to mark the end of Ramadhan.

While this holiday was not technically celebrated before 2002 when it was made a public holiday, today it is the largest Islamic festival held to promote peace between the different religions and cultures in the Philippines. One of the best cities in the Philippines to observe this festival is Manila. Check out some hotels in Manila here!

Hari Raya Puasa, Philippines

Hari Raya Puasa, Philippines


photos by: VM Team & coolinsights