Hari Raya Hosting and Guest Etiquette: Your Essential Guide

Photo by: Chee Siong Teh

Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Hari Raya Puasa is celebrated on the first day of Syawal also known as the 10th month of the lunar based Islamic calendar. This marks the conclusion of the fasting month, therefore many Muslim households will often open up their homes for celebration with friends and family. However, if you are new to this tradition or if you are a non-muslim who’s planning on visiting your muslim friend’s house this Hari Raya, this blog might be useful to you. Also, if this is your first time opening your house for Hari Raya, fret not, this blog will also guide you through on what things to look out for!

Hosting a Raya Open House

1. When to open your house for Raya?

Most Muslim households will usually host their Raya open house on the first day of Syawal, however it is normal for this to continue for the rest of the Syawal month. Therefore, do not feel stressed or pressured to open your house immediately after Ramadan.

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2. House decorations

Take this opportunity to turn this into a family activity by decorating your house with Raya decorations, creating a warm and welcoming ambience for your home. Get creative with colourful LED lights, handmade ketupats, traditional Raya lanterns, themed wall stickers, vibrant doormats, and more! Need more inspiration for Raya house deco ideas? Feel free to head over to Pinterest!

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3. Bring your house to life!

One of the easiest ways to immerse yourself in the festive spirit, is to have some lively Raya music playing softly in the background. Consider streaming a family-friendly movie on the TV to entertain your guests, especially the younger ones. If anyone in your family or circle of friends can play any musical instruments, gather around for a live jam session at home. Encourage your guests to join in the fun and make it a memorable experience for everyone!

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4. Duit Raya

Although it has never been stated anywhere in History, many people believed that the practice of Duit Raya actually came from the tradition of giving ang bao from the Chinese people during CNY. In Islam, the art of giving is a heavily emphasised practice, as seen in Zakat Fitrah, which is a mandatory practice for Muslims to pay at least once during Ramadan. Therefore, remember to set aside some money for Duit Raya and ensure that there’s enough packets to be passed to your guests and their families.

Photo by: Chee Siong Teh

5. Raya food

The most important aspect of any festive gathering is the food. Traditional Malay dishes are usually served and if you have family members who enjoy cooking, you can consider having them prepare home-cooked Raya meals for your guests.

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However, if you are short on time, you can always consider ordering ATD’s Aidilfitri and Mubarak set meals!

Photos by: CJ Wadhwa

Being a Guest

1. Don’t forget your Raya greetings!

During Hari Raya, Muslims often exchange greetings by saying "Selamat Hari Raya, maaf zahir dan batin", which translates to "Happy Hari Raya, I seek forgiveness for any of my wrongdoings". Seeking forgiveness from others allows individuals to start anew, which embodies the spirit of Hari Raya. If you're not confident in saying this greeting in Malay, a simple "Selamat Hari Raya" will suffice.

Photo by: Odua Images

2. Dress appropriately

While a traditional Malay outfit is not a necessity, try to avoid wearing clothes that are too revealing, instead, opt for something more conservative such as long sleeve shirts and pants and maxi skirts. If you are unsure, always check with your Muslim friends or the host of the Raya open house on what the dress code is.

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3. Don’t use your left hand to receive/pass around food

In Malay culture, using your left hand to consume food is seen as disrespectful or unhygienic because the left hand is used to clean themselves when using the toilet. Therefore, use your right hand when eating or when you are receiving or passing items to someone.

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4. Be mindful of the timing

When visiting a Raya open house, ensure that you are not overstaying your welcome as the host might have other guests arriving and it might be overwhelming for him or her to entertain that many guests. Be mindful and keep the visiting duration to roughly 2-3hrs.

Photo by: Odua Images

5. It’s fine to come empty handed

If you are stressing out on what to bring over for a Raya open house, don’t worry too much as it is not a requirement to bring anything over. However, if you really want to bring something over, you can consider getting ATD’s Signature Raya Gift Box!

Photos by: CJ Wadhwa

  1. Things You Should Know About Hari Raya Open House
  2. The Do’s and Don’ts of Hari Raya
  3. 18 Hari Raya Decoration Ideas to Spruce Up Your Home
  4. Why Duit Raya Is An Important Tradition In Celebrating Hari Raya