Duit Raya. My first memory and motivation for Ramadhan. I was only 6 years old when I began to fast. I recall that I really wanted to fast. I also recall that I really wanted to eat though. Lol. There were so many advertisements about food on T.V. Or is it that you notice them more when you are hungry? "Mum, how many hours to go to break fast?" was the daily question my mother had to endure. "Be patient" She would reply. I would stare blankly back. "If you want more Duit raya. A bigger one. Be patient. Sleep first." She suggested. So I followed her advice. I really wanted a big Duit Raya. Back then it gave me so much joy to receive, what was back then, so much money. I'm sure many of you would agree.
Today, of course, the days of Duit Raya for me are over. The cash gifts are now replaced with a whole suite of internal rewards and memories to be made. Helping mother make Raya cookies every night, to sell for when Raya came around. The beauty of gathering with your family to break fast after a long day of fasting. If it was Chicken Beriyani Rice, even better. Lol. Praying Terawih at the mosque at night. The feeling of love and peace. The feeling of calm. Ramadhan is a month of calmness.
Also gone is the difficulty of fasting. I now look forward to it. It is not hard at all because it is such a special month. It teaches you to be patient and positive. It makes you think of only good deeds. And I try to enact on those good thoughts. During Ramadhan, apart from breaking fast with the family, I like to eat with orphans at the various orphanages in Penang. It is so rewarding to break fast with them. A true joy to share the solidarity of Ramadhan with the less fortunate.
Another joy is what to wear for Raya once Ramadhan is over. Being a traditional person I love to wear the Baju Kurung. Baju Kurung Pesak or Baju Kurung Kedah, and Kebaya. I think maybe this year I'll be wearing the Baju Kurung Kedah, together with my favourite Lynn Andres Scarf of course. I can visualize wearing them during Raya whilst eating with family and friends. Glowing under the lights and decorations that together we so carefully placed around our home. I can also visualize the many children that will come and Salam with me. Implicitly asking for Duit Raya. Ahh, Yes. Of course. Duit Raya. I will smile, and hand over the Raya packet. Remembering... Duit Raya. Yep, that is how it all begins.
Happy Ramadhan. May your memories be as good as mine. Be as good as those of your parents, and of those who came before.
Lynn Andres Scarf