Selamat Hari Raya! We completed a month full of fasting, bazaars (Ramadan market), and iftar (breaking fast at sunset) for Ramadan. This month I joined my teachers and fellow students for fasting, which meant no food or water from sunrise to sunset. After school we would stop by the large bazaar in our town and pick out the food and drinks to break fast with. Then we would wait till the exact minute (around 7:23 calculated by local sundown) for iftar to break fast, first with a date and then with the food we had gathered at the bazaar. Over the month of Ramadan, I felt I was really able to get closer with students and teachers as I learned more about their Muslim religious traditions.
The last week of Ramadan, my parents came to Raub. After showing them around the major sights of Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Cameron Highlands they came to my town of Raub to meet my fellow teachers and students. The students really enjoyed when they came to class to participate in games and introduce themselves.
The final day of their visit happened to fall on Eid al-Fitr, the worldwide Muslim celebration for the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Malaysia, Eid al-Fitr is a week long holiday where schools and businesses are closed; Malays return to their home villages to celebrate and feast with loved ones and neighbors at open houses throughout the kampung. My parents and I joined my fellow teacher and mentor Amiza, to her hometown in the Malaysian state of Perak. We enjoyed meeting her family and seeing the village where she grew up. We also shared the savory dishes of Rendang (meat dish with garlic, chili, lemongrass, coconut milk, tamarind, and ginger) and Lemang (coconut sticky rice made in bamboo). Here are some photos from the afternoon. I am wearing a traditional Baju Melayu complete with the Songkok (hat) and Samping (plaid waist wrap).