Cultural festivals in Malaysia are usually very colourful, exciting, .
and portray the spirit of unity and togetherness, despite the diversities of cultures and religions.Amongst the major cultural festivals, such as the Thaipusam,Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Gawai and Tadan Ka'amatan or the Harvest Festival,which are most fascinating and intriguing celebration of Malaysia, is the Hari Raya.It is also one of the most important religious festivals of the Malaysian Hindus because most of Malaysians especially Malays are Muslims.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri, also known as Hari Raya Puasa, is the most meaningful and significant celebration for Muslims to mark the end of Ramadhan or the fasting month. The day is most significant as it includes two of the five tenets of Islam's: to fast during the month of Ramadhan and to pay zakat fitrah, or alms tax.Muslims celebrate the first of Syawal, which is the 10th month of the Muslim calendar, with joyous enthusiasm. By the eve of Hari Raya Puasa, Muslims would have paid their alms tax, which is then distributed to the poor. .
Muslims usher in the day with prayers in the mosques followed by visits to the graves of the departed.It is also the time for family reunions when people gather and asking forgiveness from family members. It is every Muslim's religious duty to ask for pardon on this day and this is done in order of family seniority.It is customary during this occasion for Muslims to open their homes to well wishers as well as to visit friends and relatives. .
The lighting of oil lamps reflects the festive mood.The lamps are lighted from the 20th day of Ramadhan, the night when the Koran was sent down, right through the actual day of Hari Raya Puasa itself.All mosques, homes, government and commercial buildings are decorated and brightly lit to mark the significant day.The celebrations last a month and although the first three days are celebrated on a grander scale, many Muslims have 'open houses' throughout the month to accommodate friends.