Aidilfitri celebrations bring Malaysians together through open house tradition

KUALA LUMPUR: The Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations today resonates not only with Muslims nationwide but also with Malaysians as a whole through the tradition of open houses.

Across several states, open house gatherings offered an array of dishes for guests, with traditional delicacies taking centre stage.

In Negri Sembilan, approximately 10,000 people from diverse backgrounds attended the open house at Istana Besar Seri Menanti, Kuala Pilah, in conjunction with the Aidilfitri celebration.

The Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, and Tunku Ampuan Besar, Tuanku Aishah Rohani Tengku Besar Mahmud, arrived at 9.45 am to distribute "duit raya" (Hari Raya cash) to children attending the event.

Also present were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun, and the state government's executive council members.

Negri Sembilan Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja, Datuk Azizi Mohamad Ali, highlighted that a rich array of delicacies were served at the annual event, including rendang maman, 'stano' fried chicken, Seri Menanti apam balik, apam johol, and ketupat.

"The event is from 9.30 am to 1 pm. It's always a lively atmosphere every year, with over 20 food stalls offering a variety of dishes for the guests," he told Bernama.

Alan Rajasooria, 57, who joined in the festivities with his family, described the open house as an ideal venue to strengthen the unity of the diverse community.

The businessman noted that a wide array of dishes were served, with traditional items like lemang and rendang being his family's favourites during every Raya celebration.

In Johor Baru, about 12,000 'Bangsa Johor' residents in the state livened up the Aidilfitri open house hosted by Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi at his official residence from 9 am at Saujana here today.

Also present were the Tunku Temenggong of Johor, Tunku Idris Iskandar; Tunku Panglima of Johor, Tunku Abdul Rahman; and Tunku Putera of Johor, Tunku Abu Bakar.

A total of 32 stalls offered 22 dishes, including traditional Johorean dishes such as mi rebus, laksa Johor, burasak, ketupat, rendang, and nasi briyani.

K. Saravanan, 49, from Larkin, shared that his family has been attending the Johor Menteri Besar's open house for over a decade now.

"My family and I have been attending the open house at Saujana since my children were young. What's remarkable about our gathering is that it brings together people from all walks of life – Malays, Chinese, and Indians – fostering unity while enjoying a variety of cuisines," he expressed, accompanied by his wife and five children.

In Terengganu, an estimated 15,000 visitors attended the Aidilfitri open house hosted by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar at his official residence, Seri Iman, in Kuala Terengganu.

There were 15 enticing dishes, representing various ethnicities, with highlights including nasi dagang, keropok lekor, and rojak katih.

Meanwhile, nine-year-old Ng Zheng Ren caught the attention of many as he arrived wearing a green Baju Melayu with his mother and grandmother.

The Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Chung Hwa Wei Sin student said he was excited to attend the open house in the traditional attire, which he bought for last year's Aidilfitri celebration at his school.

In Kelantan, thousands of people from diverse backgrounds attended the Istana Balai Besar open house in Kota Bharu, which commenced at 9.30 am.

Despite the light drizzle early in the morning, most guests adorned themselves in vibrant festive attire, with some even coordinating matching outfits for their families. 

Hor Kun Wah, 65, and Loh Wai Khan, 55, from Kota Bharu, said they never missed attending the annual Hari Raya open houses held at the state palace and by close friends, to savour traditional delicacies such as ketupat, lemang, and assorted kuih.

"We're thrilled to join the Aidilfitri open houses hosted by friends who celebrate the occasion because I have a deep appreciation for Malay cuisine and the array of dishes offered," Loh told Bernama.

In Pahang, Sultan of Pahang Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Tengku Ampuan Pahang Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah graced the Aidilfitri celebration at Lurah Semantan, Temerloh, attended by about 10,000 guests.

They arrived at 10.15 am and mingled with guests accompanied by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail. Also in attendance were members of the royal family, including the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

The royal couple also distributed Raya cash to the asnaf group and disabled individuals.

Before departing, they delighted the crowd by performing three songs: Gurindam Jiwa, Seiring Sejalan, and Menjelang Hari Raya, adding to the festive atmosphere.  -- BERNAMA

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