How Eid Was Celebrated By Malaysians Abroad
With the global pandemic that we have been going through since early 2020, celebrations around the world have been quite muted for most festivals. For those in Malaysia, all citizens were limited to their own households and were celebrating Eid during Covid only with their own families at home. Meanwhile, other Malaysians living in certain countries celebrated in a similar manner, while others had the good fortune to celebrate with family and friends outside of the household.
We reached out to friends living overseas for a glimpse into how they celebrated Eid amidst the Covid-19 situation in their respective locations. Take a look at the short video below for a peek into the Eid celebrations of some Malaysians and Singaporeans living in Abu Dhabi, Doha, London, Manchester and Sydney.
Eid As Usual In The United Kingdom
For Malaysians in London, Zura Ahmad, founder of Bridge and Broadly PR, and Syed Hakeem, an entrepreneur, in London, although living far away from family, it was almost as if nothing was wrong with the world. The couple and their friends were able to celebrate Eid at home as restrictions due to Covid-19 had been relaxed somewhat. By the time the first day of the Muslim month on Syawal, this year falling on 13 May, rolled around, more than 36 million UK citizens had already had their first Covid-19 vaccine dose.
“Here in London, social distancing is not required in trains anymore after the vaccine rollout,” Zura shares. “However, Eid prayers were done at home as the mosques were not open yet.”
“For Raya (Eid), we had raya biscuits, lemang, ketupat and rendang as usual,” says Zura. “I’m so blessed having friends and family around here who cook well.”
Speaking about vaccine distribution, Zura says she likes how the vaccine escalation is handled in the UK. “They started with those aged 70 and above first,” Zura explains, “Now the vaccine is being given to those aged 32 and above.”
Meanwhile, over in Manchester, Mizah Rahim Bramhall, a fashion entrepreneur who runs MizahB.com, celebrated Eid with her family and fellow overseas Singaporeans in Woodford, Stockport. Eidul Fitri is not a public holiday in Manchester, so while it was observed on the Thursday it fell on, Mizah and friends had their proper celebrations on Saturday, enjoying delicious food and each other’s company to mark the occasion.
Celebrating With Family And Friends In Sydney
Over in Sydney, Australia, entrepreneur Melati Kamaruddin of Colab Digital, along with her husband Aizat Mohd Mustapa, who works in public service, and their son, Mikhael, celebrated Eid with their closest friends at an open house – a long standing Eid tradition for Malaysians.
In Australia, even though only 12% of the population had had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, their daily cases were so low that restrictions were relaxed enough for them to do away with social distancing when visiting friends and family at home during Eid. True to Malaysian fashion, Eid was even celebrated during the second week of the month of Syawal, reminiscent of how in Malaysia it would practically be celebrated throughout the whole month!
Subdued Celebrations In The Middle East
As expats living in Doha, Qatar, Eid this year was a quieter event for the family of Adrin Daud and Petrina Petra. Along with their kids, Ayleia, 10, Ayden, 5, and Ayreyn, who is 6 months old, the family celebrated at their own home with no visitors allowed due to Qatar’s lockdown rules.
Adrin is a legal counsel at a Qatari Oil and Gas company while Petrina is currently a housewife after her last job as legal counsel at an investment bank in Malaysia. The family has been in Doha since late 2016. To date, baby Ayreyn has not come back to Malaysia yet because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Malaysian Nik Yuslinda a.k.a. Aline, also celebrated Eid with her small family at home. As Aline’s husband, Rafik Lazar, is French Algerian, their fare on the dining table included not just Raya staples but also sweet dishes as per North African tradition. Interesting fact: Rafik was born and raised in Marseilles, France so he can consider football greats such as Zenedine Zidane and Samir Nasri as his orang kampung (hometown hommies) – although he doesn’t know them personally.
It is interesting to see how the different countries are handling the pandemic right now, which affects how its citizens live their daily lives and celebrate Eid! For many in Malaysia, it was a sombre event , especially with restrictions that involved a travel ban across states and district lines. Together, let’s pray that things will be better soon and all Malaysians, as well as others around the world, will be free to observe their respective celebrations.
Special thanks to the following for helping us out with this video (and check out their respective social media accounts or websites to show some support):
Aline Lazar, Raffik Lazar, Maryam, Najma, Tariq in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Petrina Petra, Adrin Daud, Ayleia, Ayden and Ayreen in Doha, Qatar
Mizah Rahim Bramhall, Steve Bramhall, Naylie Qistina Samsudin, and friends in Manchester, the United Kingdom
– Mizah B hijabs
Zura Ahmad, Syed Hakeem and family and friends, in London, the United Kingdom
– Bridge & Broadly PR
– Malaysian Deli & Malay Plate UK
– Vintage Ria – Thrifting The Globe
– Cafe Rasa Malaysia in Westfield Stratford City, London run by Zura’s sister, Noor Azlina
– Niza Bee London by Niza Baron, who was the official “baju raya” tailor for almost everyone in the gang
– Laram Lifestyle by designer Ady Yaacob, who designs streetwear as well as Eid wares with a modern twist
From an avid magazine reader in her teens to a writer and editor today, Zurien honed her skills at various publications including CLEO, K-Zone, Prestige, The Malaysian Women’s Weekly, LISA Malaysia, MSN.com.my, GLAM Junior, Going Places, kayak.com, HerInspirasi.com, Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia, Tropicana Magazine and Convergence by Malaysia Airports. Zurien hopes to inspire readers to enjoy the best of travel and lifestyle experiences at Gadabout.