I have always loved diversity, and so this year as a muslim I celebrated my first Chinese New Year with my husband’s family. His mom is chinese, ( dad is indian ) and because we all take halal food, his parents usually host the reunion dinner. I was all excited and dressed up making sure I’m all red and merry! When everyone arrived at my parents-in-law’s place, to my surprise, they were dressed pretty casual. I was probably the “red-dest”.
Since I now have experienced both cny and hari raya, I cant help but to make a comparison.
CNY VS HARI RAYA
CNY: Hardly anyone wears the traditional costume anymore. Only older folks or young kids would wear red and you can see some cheongsam/oriental influence. I even saw one girl walked in black baggy pants and white jersey! If there were no oranges at the houses I visited, I wouldn’t know its CNY, REALLY..
Hari Raya: Most are still in traditional wear. Families would be colour coordinated. Ladies are nicely groomed, make up and lovely shoes. When a family walks by in the streets, you can tell its a festive mood.
And after wearing red on the reunion dinner and realising I ook like an hangboa, I decided to chill down and go easy on colours. So here are my 2 ootds. ( Lully Selb Shawls - duuh )
CNY: Yummy crackers, juicy oranges. We were so blessed because all the houses we visited, served us great food. In fact, it felt like a wedding weekend. Some families catered in special halal bryani, naan and ayam sambal ( chicken with chilli ). For me, this is better than raya food, haha! Oh, and I love the lo-hey food!
Hari Raya: Lots of kueh ( traditional cookies ) and first day we usually have lontong and ketupat. After a month of fasting, we easily gain back the weight and fats just in the first few days of hari raya.
*For food, I have to say both festive are winners! Singaporeans and food, we cant separate yea.
3) House Decoration
CNY: Rather simple, low-key but very practical. They buy good wishing posters and hang on the walls. Somehow, the basket of orange and red jars of crackers add the CNY mood to the home.
Hari Raya: New curtains and cushion covers, some even get the walls painted with a new colour. Not very practical to do every year but I love seeing the effort and pride they take in. And nothing beats visiting a lovely, warm home.
Overall I have to say that Hari Raya is way livelier than Chinese New Year. ( at least for me ). Maybe its in the culture, or maybe my side of family, the numbers are larger and they are louder and that probably adds to the atmosphere. I also have this sense that those celebrate CNY dont look forward to it as much as those who celebrate Hari Raya. Could be also, we fast for one whole month and so Hari Raya is extra special. I probably have to celebrate a few more years before I can make a proper judgement. One thing for sure, having children around makes it more fun, we played fire crackers, something I love since I was a child!
Selma Bamadhaj aka Selb