So the holy month of Ramadan is underway. During the course of the month, Muslims in the country and around the world will fast from dawn to sunset.
If you are on the lookout for some lip-smacking buffets for iftar this month, we’re sure you’ll enjoy our list here. Alternatively, if you are planning to keep your budget in check while also reducing wastage, our article here will prove to be handy.
However, there is also something which comes right after Ramadan that excites the Muslim and non-Muslim population in Malaysia alike. Yes, we are talking about Eid al-Fitr, or more popularly known as “Hari Raya” to everyone across the land. The festive season brings with it an extended holiday period, fireworks, reunions, travel, and lots of delicious food!
With such a busy period on the horizon, there will be a lot of things to plan. Here we’ve compiled 7 essentials to include in your Raya budget.
1. An array of kuih raya
Unlike Eid al-Fitr celebrations in other parts of the world, the Raya festivity in Malaysia is rather unique because we celebrate it for the entire of Syawal. Yes, that means that our homes will be receiving visits from family and friends for almost a month!
No matter if it is just a quick drop-by or a longer visit, it’s tradition to serve the guests “kuih raya”. If you want to keep to a budget and don’t mind the less fancy types, it is perhaps wise to wait until the final day of Ramadan as kuih raya usually go on discount during this time.
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2. Raya outfits
According to the teachings of Islam, it is Sunnah (best practice) to wear one’s best clothes during Raya. In Malaysia, people normally wear traditional Malay outfits during the first few days of raya. If you want to opt for brand new raya outfits but don’t want the hassle of shopping or going to the tailor, you can always purchase them online.
Nowadays, raya outfits from big brands and smaller boutiques are all available at the click of a mouse.
3. Duit raya
Another Malaysian tradition during this period is “duit raya”. Adapted from the Chinese “red envelope” custom, people hand out money in special envelopes to young guests who visit their homes.
Calculate the number of young guests expected to visit your home and add a few extra to the total. That way, you can calculate how much money you want to put in each envelope and you won’t run out of duit raya.
You can go to banks to withdraw the specific number of banknotes that you plan to put into these envelopes. People normally do this a few weeks into Ramadan.
Raya is also the season where most people go back to their home-towns to meet their relatives and friends. Unfortunately, this festive period also sees a high number of road accidents. According to statistics released by the Malaysian Police Department, there were a reported 17,147 road accidents during last year’s Raya period.
If you are driving back home, make sure that your vehicle is in proper condition. Head on over to your preferred service centre for a full checkup. Also, don’t forget to check our blog on some of the top petrol credit cards in Malaysia that lets you drive around for less.
If you plan to travel by public transportation, you’ll be well-advised to book your tickets early as they tend to sell-out fast. Alternatively, you can carpool to cut costs.
And if you’re taking a flight, always remember that an air miles credit card goes a long way in getting discounted airfare. Click here to know how air miles credit cards work, and here to find out some of the top air miles credit cards in Malaysia. That said, always consider the spend requirements and other riders before you sign up for an air miles credit card.
In an ideal situation, most people would prefer to stay at their parent’s home when they travel back to their home-town. But for large families returning to small homes, this is not always possible.
It is therefore wise to include the costs of accommodation in your budget too.
Make sure you survey for the best prices and deals for your stay. Among the choices available to you are hotels, homestays, and Airbnb. Click here to find out which are some of the best travel credit cards in the country that let you save more on accommodation and travel.
Related: 4 Wise Things to Do with Your Salary
6. Open house
The tradition of visiting friends and relatives during the month of Syawal does provide some logistic problems at times. It is hard to know when someone will be at home. This is where the concept of “open house” comes in handy.
Set aside a date and time where most people can visit you on that particular day. However, most people will have multiple open houses to attend to. So, make sure the time period is long enough.
7. Home security
As mentioned in the previous point, it is hard to know when someone will be at home during raya. It is also a well-known fact that major cities such as Kuala Lumpur will be empty during the first few days of Syawal. This makes your home vulnerable to break-ins.
If you can’t afford professional home security services, make sure all doors and windows are protected by proper locks. If possible, do not leave any valuables or money in the house. Instead, store them in safe deposit boxes at your local banks.
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