Written by Jen-Li Lim
Social distancing can be hard, especially as we enter one of the biggest festive events of the year. How do we celebrate this season while keeping to the restrictions Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO)?
We asked several members of the iMoney team:
Here’s what they said about their Ramadan experience, and how they’re celebrating Raya this year.
Ramadan looked a little different
For many, Ramadan has been a lot less lively.
Each year, I look forward to gathering with family and friends during our Iftar session just to catch up. We also would cook or go to the Ramadan bazaars together. But now, since the government has enforced MCO restrictions, it felt a little bit lonely as we couldn’t even gather at the mosque for prayers every night like we used to. I understand it’s all for the best and just hope that we can return to normal soon!
I wish I could go to the mosque this year for terawih prayer because last year I was not able to due to pregnancy (third trimester). And of course no Ramadan bazaars!
But it’s not all bad.
No bazaars, (less lively), no terawih at the mosque (a custom every year) but on the positive side, closer spiritual and religious bond to the family.
I can save more money because I don’t buy much food for iftar and it prevents me from wasting food as well. For prayer, I still can perform it at the house with my family. I created a stronger bond and spent more time together with them.
No need to face traffic [due to working from home] every evening – that’s a plus. I still can do terawih at home, at my own pace. I don’t really go to bazaars, maybe just a few times in the whole month in previous years. So I’m kinda okay with it. As long as I have food for buka, no need for something special.
I am working from home during Ramadan due to MCO so skipping the Ramadan rush-hour commute home on an empty stomach is really nice. Being at home also means I have time to cook so the stress to find food and fight the buka puasa
crowd has reduced considerably. But I still miss my Ramadan bazaar food like murtabak
, bubur lambuk
, Malay kuih-muih
There’s also much less food wastage this year since Ramadan bazaar sellers are not allowed to operate, so there is less food wastage from both parties (the seller and the hungry buyer). However the ugly trade-off is that these sellers are not able to have any sort of income this Ramadan.
Celebrating a socially distant Raya
Many said that they’ll be foregoing the usual gatherings this year, and only visit immediate family members.
I can’t go back to kampung, and I don’t think I’ll go out much this Raya. Will continue staying indoors. I only went out five times during this 50 over days [of MCO] anyway.
But being physically apart doesn’t mean that we can’t be together. Our team shared how they’ll be celebrating Raya while social distancing.
First and foremost, maintain a distance between each other! We usually shake hands with our family and relatives, give each other hugs and kisses too when we apologise for our wrongdoings with each other. That is not going to happen this year.
Second, limit the visits. I think we are just going to have a small celebration where we try to visit only the closest to where we are staying.
Lastly, practise extra hygiene care for our loved ones. We will be preparing face masks & hand sanitisers on top of our usual rendang, lemang, ketupat etc 😉
I am still figuring out the way to keep social distancing especially when it comes to my kids. They will surely touch everything and be highly exposed to any diseases. Maybe I will just have a quick visit to my parents’ and in-laws’ houses or we’ll just make a video call.
We can still connect with each other by having a video call. So this year, Raya is going to be Raya with technology!
Check out our YouTube video featuring the iMoney team and their loved ones!
On the upside…
Is there anything to look forward to in a socially distant Raya?
Raya to give out! – Akma
Not meeting people = don’t have to give duit Raya. – Hali
Less duit Raya to give out since I am visiting fewer families this year. :p – Sara
Apart from that, this year’s Raya is also an opportunity for self-reflection, and to be grateful for what we have.
[We can] reflect on things like the actual purpose of Raya, money spent and ways to bring families together.
You will appreciate every single thing that you’ve taken for granted.
Akma’s also looking forward to Raya this year for a different reason.
First time celebrating Raya on the husband’s side! We always take turns and this year is his. I am looking forward to experiencing a different setup as different families have slightly different traditions. Also, I am preparing for my own home as well as I just moved in.
And Azmi pointed out something that many of us are probably secretly thinking:
One upside of celebrating Raya while social distancing is less exhaustion! Without people coming to the house to visit, we can relax more :p
Spending less on Raya this year
Everyone we asked said that they may be spending less this year. There’ll be less duit Raya to give out, less kuih raya to spend on and no Raya shopping. A few said that they’ll be recycling past baju Raya that they’ve worn in previous years.
For Izwan, it’s also a time to spend on others.
I’m spending more on charity because many others are more badly affected by COVID-19 than me.
Money-saving practices we’ve learnt
Did we learn anything during MCO that we can continue to practice after all this is over? Almost everyone said that they’ll (try to) continue cooking from home to cut down on their food budget. Some said that they’ll focus more on buying needs, instead of wants.
I used to frequent malls almost every weekend and the temptation to give in to retail therapy is real. After MCO I will try to be more strict in terms of what I bring into the house and what I buy for myself.
Me and my husband [who happens to be our Deputy Editor!] haven’t gone out on a date since MCO started. Going out on dates is expensive! So I might need to figure out how we can save money when we eventually do go out together. Might start by skipping shopping malls and opting for places that have free or low-cost entry.
It’s your turn to share
How are you spending this season with your loved ones?
Tell us, in a photo on Instagram and Facebook about what it means to be together in the new normal! You’ll stand a chance to win an RM300 Lazada voucher, or an RM200 Netflix voucher.
Find the full details of this contest here.
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