Ramadan is back again! And with it, a number of special Ramadan traditions that can only be done or seen during this holy month for the Muslims in Malaysia. What are those things? Read on to find out!
1. Waiting for the Official Announcement of the First Day of Ramadan
Does this uncle look familiar to you? If yes, it is because he always makes his appearance on television to announce the exact date of the first day of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr every year. Who is he, exactly? Well, Tan Sri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad is the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal and he has served for a total of 9 years in his role. Nowadays, people do not really depend on his announcement as much due to the wider availability of information, thanks to the Internet. However, back in the day, it was an annual event for families to gather in front of their televisions as they waited for the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal’s announcements.
2. First Day Off Day
If you are confused by this, then you may be living in the wrong state. This is because certain states in Malaysia enjoy an off day on every first day of Ramadan. Which states, you ask? Only Johor, Malacca and Kedah (for now?). This special holiday is given to better allow the citizens, especially the Muslims, in those states to celebrate the first day of the holy month.
3. Bubur Lambuk
This savoury rice porridge is mainly ever only made during Ramadan and is a favourite to many people. Case in point: Kampung Baru’s famous bubur lambuk. The bubur lambuk here is so famous that the mosque in charge of distributing the dish would reach an average of 70,000 packets distributed throughout Ramadan.
4. Ramadan Bazars
This list would not be complete without a mention of the Ramadan bazars available pretty much anywhere you are in Malaysia. With the seemingly endless choice of food and drinks available, it is of little wonder that Malaysians would flock to Ramadan bazars from the first day Ramadan starts. Take care not to overbuy, though!
After finishing tarawih prayers, it is still very much the norm to see Muslims going out to find restaurants for moreh, which basically means supper. There are also mosques that would hand out free food for moreh to its visitors. These free food are usually sponsored by other kind-hearted Muslims who may want to share their wealth with others during the blessed month of Ramadan.
In the past, there are so many different types of fireworks that would be lit up during Ramadan not just by kids, but also their parents. Fireworks that are closer to explosives like the traditional and homemade meriam buluh used to be fired up pretty religiously during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. However, as law enforcement became stricter, fewer Malaysians would risk themselves being caught lighting up fireworks. The illegality of most types of fireworks in Malaysia is for very valid reasons, though — the numerous cases of kids losing their limbs, unnecessary noise, light and sound pollution and the wastage of money are a few of them. Still, the nostalgia still hits from time to time.
No, I don’t mean the kuih. It is definitely delicious but the focus here is on the actual pelita which is a traditional type of Malay oil lamp. Pelita is usually lit on the final 10 nights of Ramadan to light up and make the environment become even livelier. These nights are also known as ‘Malam Tujuh Likur’ which means ‘The 27th Night’ in Malay. Why the 27th? Who knows. After all, what’s in a name?
That is all the Ramadan traditions in Malaysia that we can think of so far that are unique to Malaysians during Ramadan. Did you have a fun time reading through this list? We hope so. Have a great Ramadan or April, everyone!