KUALA LUMPUR: Traditionally, Muslims in Malaysia will spend the Aidilfitri holiday visiting friends and relatives and receiving visitors.
It is also a joyous occasion for children as adults give them token sums of money, which is known as ‘duit raya’.
Among Malays, duit raya is considered a must, particularly for children, and sometimes even for unmarried adults as gifts during the Hari Raya celebration.
Duit raya comes in packets which are in various colours and designs.
Duit raya packets can readily be obtained for free from banks, businesses, hypermarkets, and other locations.
The packets can also be bought at stationery shops.
“I only give duit raya to those under 15 years old,” said Sarawak-born Muhammad Nazri.
He sees the act of giving duit raya as a sincere act and one that ‘comes from the heart’.
“It is according to the current economic situation and we are supposed to not show off,” he said when asked about the sum of duit raya he is giving away this Aidilfitri.
Sabariah Abdul Rashid, who is from Kedah, feels giving duit raya is meant to enhance an existing relationship.
“For family members, we may give more but when children who we never met come visiting, we will still give them duit raya, albeit a smaller amount.
“I will give duit raya to the young ones and those who are still under the care of their parents,” said Sabariah.
Several students in universities were approached on the subject.
Would they still be expecting duit raya?
Nur Farah Syakila Jasmy said, “Age does not count. It depends on those giving and the owners of homes that we will visit.”
The 18-year-old matriculation student hopes that she will still get her duit raya.
This is the first time Nur Farah is away from her family while in the university hostel.
Her course mate, Azhif Ezzudin, agrees with Nur Farah’s views.
“There were happy and touching memories. I used to receive a total of RM1,000 in duit raya. But a poignant moment was during my childhood when my mother was forced to use my duit raya to pay for our utility bills,” recalled Azhif.
Others feel that as long as they have no jobs, they are entitled to be given duit raya.
Rosli Johnny, 64, says that the practice of giving duit raya was borrowed from Chinese tradition of giving ‘Hong Pao’ (Ang Pau) during the Chinese New Year celebration.
“As long as I can remember, giving duit raya is taken from the Chinese tradition of giving away money during the Lunar New Year celebration.
For Muslims, sadaqah is more appropriate,” Rosli said.
Nuraina Suryani Ruslan thinks that duit raya is good for those who have not found work, and she will be happy to receive duit raya, even if it is only a small amount.
“It also should be based on the current economic situation,” she said.
Dhabitah Amirah of Petaling Jaya and Eddy Iskandar of Pulau Pinang agree.
They said receiving duit raya is something enjoyable, no matter what the amount is.
According to Tunku Azwil Tunku Abdul Razak, chairman of the Advisory Council to the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM), duit raya can be interpreted as ‘Sadaqah’ or a contribution to the needy.
“We should not give duit raya as a way to show off. It is based on one’s own affordability and sincerity,” he said.
Tunku Azwil added there should be no ‘compulsion’ in giving duit raya.
It should be based on one’s economic situation.
He advises those who receive duit raya to spend it wisely or save it, instead of spending it on unnecessary items.
An officer manning the counter of a Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) branch here said people have been queuing up to change their money into brand new notes which will be given away as duit raya.
“They have been doing it since Aug 22,” the officer said. — Bernama
This will go on until there are no more new notes available.
Another officer at the Al-Rajhi bank in Subang Jaya said many banks have provided special counters to enable the public to get new ringgit notes. — Bernama