What a Modern Raya Looks Like

Hari Raya is one of the biggest festive occasions in Malaysia, being not just the main holiday in the Islamic calendar, but also a joyous time for all Malaysians to enjoy food bazaars during the month of Ramadhan, open house visiting, and to feast on Raya dishes that everyone looks forward to such as rendang and lemang.

And while the same Hari Raya classic songs of previous decades still play on the radio, and families continue to prepare and cook their family recipes as they have done for generations, Hari Raya is at the same time evolving, with the younger generation infusing their own trends, ideas, and values into the celebration.

Raya Fashion Makes a Statement

While traditional wear such as the classic Nyonya kebaya are still fashion staples in the country, Raya fashion is seeing huge changes from the regular baju kurungs and baju Melayus.

Raya is now becoming the occasion to debut your showstopper traditional outfit, with local designers taking custom orders months ahead of time to allow their clients to make an entrance on the first day of Raya.

And the designs are changing too, with pieces getting a more modern look, such as kebaya tops with peplum edges, or semi-formal wear such as crisp white shirts being paired with traditional-wear bottoms.

Raya Meals Go Green

There is no doubt that the younger generation is much more eco-conscious than that of their elders. It is thanks to activism that more attention is being given to eco-consciousness in how we celebrate Hari Raya, leading to bigger steps being taken to curb problems such as food wastage during Ramadhan bazaars, and the use of non-recyclable or non-biodegradable food packaging.

As more young people embrace a plant-based lifestyle, we’re seeing more and more interesting recipes as alternative, more-inclusive meal options for Raya classic foods such as plant-based rendang and curries made with savoury ingredients such as mushrooms as a meat substitute, and vegan cookies and cakes that are egg-free and made using plant-based oils instead of butter.

Photo by Tina Nord

The efforts to create plant-based recipes also gear everyday Malaysians to think towards healthier alternatives, creating consciousness about diet and unnecessary overeating during festive occasions.

A Digital Raya

Anyone in their 30s or older might remember a time when exchanging physical greeting cards during a festive occasion was the norm, with families then using those greeting cards as decorations for the home that guests will see when coming for open house celebrations.

These days, Raya greetings are shared digitally, either by sending gifs by Whatsapp, or by posting a photo of the family decked out in traditional wear on Instagram with a general caption wishing friends and followers a ‘Selamat Hari Raya’.

Malaysian banking and payment apps also have limited-time features to transfer ‘Duit Raya’ to your loved ones, as a solution for those who aren’t able to see certain family members to give them a duit raya envelope in person.

And finally, Raya shopping can practically entirely be done online, by ordering cookies via Instagram from your favourite dessert artisans, buying baju Raya for the family via clothing sites, or even by using delivery apps (like GemSpot!) to order your meal catering for your open house celebrations.   

Need help with your Raya open house planning? Check out our Party Planning services and use our delivery or self-pickup options to order food and even decorations!

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