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Raya in the new normal: Here’s how Malaysians kept the celebrations alive

Selamat Hari Raya ugaiz! We did it – our first (and hopefully last) Raya while social distancing!

Back when the MCO was first announced, Raya still seemed too far away to even be a concern. But as it got extended, Raya got closer and closer and we got increasingly worried. And then the nasi impit menjadi bubur when our PM announced that the MCO will continue into Raya. So everyone was asking :

 “how the heck are we gonna even celebrate Raya?!”.

Wanna eat rendang macam mana tu??

So, curious about how CovEid Hari Raya 2020 will look like, we teamed up with DuitNow to find out the different ways Malaysians are celebrating Hari Raya while social distancing. You know, aside from giving out the obligatory duit Raya through online banking. Speaking of which….


Giving duit Raya is much easier with DuitNow

Raya Mask Jalan… Geddit?

DuitNow is one of the many platforms that are trying to facilitate our Hari Raya celebrations, and they’re doing it by providing us with an easier and more convenient way to transfer money.

Instead of having to ask all your atuks and neneks for their account number, you can just use their phone number (or IC number) to transfer funds to their account. Heck, that’s actually how our CiliBos gave everyone their duit Raya this year!

Thank you boss! I have 2 phone numbers, can transfer to both ah?

So with our duit Raya safely received, here’s a look into how some people’s Raya celebrations looked like:


1. Amir, who still visited his friends… in Grand Theft Auto 

Image from OOHAMI via YouTube

Amir tells us that his family typically celebrates Raya for a minimum of 1 week, but limits their open house to 1 day cause kenot tahan all the dishwashing. But this year, it seems that all the extra dishwashing in the world wouldn’t bring that one day of Raya joy that they looked forward to.

Until he came up with a pretty creative solution.

“I’ll ‘visit’ my friends on the road, shout “Selamat Hari Raya” and bising-bising a bit, then go home and meet in PUBG, GTA Online or VR chat for that ‘Raya visiting feel’.” – Amir

In case you didn’t know, GTA V is a super popular game where you can steal drive cars and get rich, with an online option that let’s you play GTA with real people. In fact, there is even a server that gives you Malaysian customization option. Amir mentions that because he’s living with his parents over the MCO period, collecting duit Raya isn’t a problem.

But if you’ve played GTA before, you don’t really have to guess too hard on how he might have collected duit Raya in the game…

“Lets just hope that we don’t shoot each other imitating fireworks 😅”

We’re pretty sure he’s kidding though. It’s actually quite possible to have a peaceful gathering in GTA, like this fella who uploaded a video of a virtual Malay wedding hosted on GTA V.


2. Fuad, the doctor who got to spend Raya with family BECAUSE OF THE MCO

If we find spending Hari Raya away from family to be strange, it’s good to remember that, for some people, this is the norm; and spending Raya with their family is the exception

Shout out to those who sacrifice their Raya for us. Pic from The Star

Fuad, who is a doctor, typically doesn’t get to celebrate Raya on the day itself. He usually only gets to celebrate it with his parents 2 weeks after Raya. 

And it’s not just because the job keep him super busy, but it’s because he’s the type of guy who sacrifices himself to allow his colleagues to balik kampung.

“I’m not married. So typically I’m working in the hospital during Raya, giving a chance for my colleagues to travel home with their families.

Because my colleagues can’t go home this Raya, I’m actually finally home with my family.” – Fuad

Fuad tells us he’s happy that he can actually salam and cium tangan with his parents on the pagi Raya itself, something many of us take for granted.

On normal Rayas, he will just eat the rendang and whatever else the nurses bring to the hospital. This year though…

“Instead of eating rendang that the nurses cook, I’m actually going to try my hand at making (and probably destroying) it.”

He’s also planning on spreading the Raya joy by sending his rendang to his friends’ houses – responsibly through contactless transaction of course – and blasting sounds of fireworks from his car outside his house.

Unfortunately not the real Fuad. Img from WSJ

He hasn’t forgotten about his work colleagues too, as he’ll be GrabFooding them at the hospital to thank them for working.. Awww…

In fact, we actually got multiple entries telling us that they don’t typically get a chance to celebrate Raya due to work. So once again, thank you frontliners for sacrificing your time for the rest of us! 

3. Ed, bertakbir Raya through Zoom

Picture from Ed. Fuyoh even grandpa grandma are on Zoom!

For our non-Muslim friends reading this, you might not be familiar with takbir Raya. It’s something that’s recited to glorify Allah, and takbir Raya is often recited on Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji and the 3 days that follow Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Tasyrik).

But unlike the festive feelings that’s typically associated with Raya, the takbir Raya is quite somber (at least that’s how we do it in Malaysia la) and is known to bring tears all around..

Because it’s something that’s typically done at the mosque or surau with neighbours and family, Ed decided to bring his family together to perform the takbir Raya on Zoom:

“Last night we were doing the takbir with our siblings across Tambak via a Zoom meeting. And then we exchange our Raya apologies😅😅” – Ed


4. Angel, sending food to friends like an…. angel.

What goes around comes around. That’s what we call good… kurma – Pic from Angel

Angel lived much of her younger years out of Malaysia but came back once a year to celebrate Raya and, perhaps because she only got to see her extended family so rarely, they developed a really weird way of celebrating:

“My cousins and I have a tradition where we must go to the cinema and watch a movie every 1st Raya.” – Angel

But this year, social distancing and closed entertainment outlets have given Angel’s family an opportunity to test out their culinary skills 

“Well, I don’t usually cook for Raya since I’m barely at home on Raya day. However, since there’s less visiting allowed this year, I cooked Raya food with my mom and Grab Express-ed some to friends.” 

The best part is, she even received some food in return.

“I can really see that MCO has turned everyone into amazing chefs.” – Angel”


5. Nadia and her Digitalized Raya Celebration 2020™®© 

Typically, Nadia travels from KL back to her hometown in Negeri Sembilan. Although she’s thankful that we’re still allowed to meet up with family members who are nearby, she also wants to contribute to flattening the curve.

A small gathering means a lot to Nadia

Thankfully, Nadia is a woman with a plan…and a lot of slogans.

She tells us that she had a ‘digitalized Raya celebration’ under the tagline of “All Things Digitalized©”. This covered all aspects of the traditional Raya celebration except it’s….digitalized™:

  • Ziarah Raya Digitalized – Whatsapp video call after solat Raya
  • Baju Raya Digitalized – Buy all online 
  • Raya Dishes Digitalized– Grabfood
  • Duit Raya Digitalized – DuitNow

There’s probably a reason Nadia chose to use DuitNow to transfer duit Raya (we didn’t bribe her okay. Bribery haram.), and that’s because it’s really easy. Here’s a super short video guide that explains the process:

Last but not least, Nadia also listed down some benefits to her digitalized Raya celebration

  • Time in traffic – zero
  • Accidents on the highway – zero (citation needed)
  • Fuel used – zero
  • Hotel – Trivago


No matter what, Malaysians still find ways to keep the festivities going

It’s super encouraging to see that Malaysians found so many creative ways to make this Raya count, whether bertakbir Raya over Zoom, sending duit Raya through Duitnow, or being like these families who are having literal open houses outside their…uhm…houses.

Either way, one thing’s for sure is that this is definitely a Raya to remember. Once again, Selamat Hari Raya to everyone from Cilisos and DuitNow! And to the winners mentioned above, banyak-banyak terima kasih for sharing your stories. We’ll be contacting you soon so you can get your Cilisos-sos!

Btw, who else was looking forward to what colour the Raya announcer’s Baju Melayu was going to be?

“We always bet on which colour of baju melayu the announcer is going to wear.” – Shahirah


“I always look forward  to seeing the announcer punya baju colour 🤣🤣🤣” – Amir




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