1. TAKBIR RAYA NIGHT
The hubby and I reached San Diego from Kuala Lumpur on June 3, 2019. The next day, June 4, the Muslims in the USA would be celebrating Eid Mubarak. It was a day earlier than my home country Malaysia.
Upon reaching our home in Oceanside, we quickly got ready to go to Long Beach for our last Iftar for the 2019 Ramadhan. We wanted to be with the rest of the Malaysians to participate in “ takbir malam Raya”, which was held a day prior to the big Eid Mubarak celebration.
During the “takbir malam Raya”, we had our breaking of fast or Iftar together. The beauty about the diaspora in California is that they may not be siblings, but the comradeship is closely knitted amongst the individuals. After iftar, were performed our “maghrib prayer”and then followed by “takbir Raya”.
Similarly, like the previous years, the takbir was led by Fauzi Zainal. He is an engineer by profession; he is one of the prime movers of the Malaysian community in California.
Whilst participating in the “takbir Raya”, it was touching for many of us whose families were back in Malaysia. I could see the sadness engulfed in the eyes of most of us. Somehow, the “takbir Raya” always touches my heart and I would be reflecting the good old times with my late parents.
2. EID MUBARAK CELEBRATION
The annual event for the Eid Mubarak event in Southern California is organised by the Malaysian Islamic Foundation of North America (MIFNA). The presence of the organisation has cemented the cooperation amongst the Malaysian diaspora in California.
Dr Hasnah Hamdan, a former research scientist in the USA, is the President of MIFNA (yeayyy for women empowerment!). She is an active and aggressive individual, commanding the MIFNA for the benefits of the Malaysian Muslims community. There are more than 300 MIFNA members in California.
On the morning of Eid Mubarak, we converged at the venue Diamond Bar in Long Beach. Everyone seemed so refreshing in their Malaysian traditional costumes. After living overseas for umpteen years, I experience that the Eid Mubarak event is the only time the Malaysians get really dressed up in our traditional costumes.
The men adorned the “baju Melayu” whilst the women in “baju kurung”, “kebaya” and caftan. It was such a vibrant and colourful occasion for the Malaysian diaspora. Happiness is the word to describe the celebration of Eid Mubarak.
Again, the Eid Mubarak prayer in the morning was led by Fauzi Zainal. Those who attended the prayer were not only Malaysians, but others from Singapore, Indonesia and other ASEAN nations. It was more like ASEAN solidarity.
In his sermon, Fauzi stressed upon the importance of togetherness and cooperation among the Muslim communities, which was reflected on the cooperation and coordination under a religion that professes for peace and harmonious ties amongst its Muslims sisterhood and brotherhood.
The spread of Malaysian food was totally unbelievable. Our local dishes such as rendang, lontong, nasi himpit, peanut sauce, and cookies were served. The beautiful part about the whole event was the many volunteers who participated to make this event a wonderful one. Interestingly too, the servers were young university students from various universities in California.
My whole family was present at the celebration -Nadia and hubby Steve, Najwa and hubby David plus their baby, Rodney. It was more like the gathering of families for me and others too at the Eid Mubarak event.
The past few years I had been celebrating Eid Mubarak with the Malaysian diaspora in California. The hubby and I have established new friendships. It is always nice to get to know more Malaysians and the other ASEAN families living in Southern California.
The children got together and played amongst themselves. Just like in Malaysia, the duit Raya was one of the programs enjoyed by the children. The children were so joyous to receive their duit Raya.
The President of MIFNA, Dr Hasnah Hamdan, was busy announcing the program for the day. The hubby and I were asked to distribute the MIFNA duit Raya to our students studying in California, whilst Jamiah and hubby Claude for the young kids. Even my one year old grandson was waiting in line to receive his duit Raya.
The joyous occasion of Eid Mubarrak brings the best of individuals in the community. The “gotong-royong” spirit by the members of MIFNA in preparations of food is much admirable. I have observed from the weekly breaking fast events that I had attended, “takbir Raya” night and on the Raya day itself, the MIFNA members got together to play their role in ensuring that all the programs were successfully implemented. This act of giving and sharing among the MIFNA members is exemplary and should be emulated by other communities.
Food was aplenty, and we did eat a lot of the scrumptious dishes. Since I just returned a day earlier to the USA before Eid Mubarak day and we were jetlagged, we opted to visit only one house after the event. Nor Sharif and Ishak Japar are two individuals well-known amongst Malaysians in California. They are the pillars of strength for the Malaysian community, together with Fauzi Zainal and wife Rina Faisal. Almost all events by Malaysians are coordinated by these foursomes, be it Quran recital, family day, and Raya events. Thank you, guys!
When we arrived at Nor’s house, we were served nasi lemak and her special “sambal sotong”. Whilst in Malaysia “melepak” is where the family members converged in one’s house during Raya, the same concept is applicable here where we would go to a buddy’s house and talk, eat and talk. In this case, it is Nor’s house where she has a “cool” garden
and a “day dreaming spot”. When we finally left the house, we were full to the brim with food. Plus, the unstoppable jetlagged. Yawned!
Eid Mubarak to all!
* Pixs credit to the Malaysian diaspora in SoCal.