Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the Eid al-Fitr in Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia. It is a Muslim Festival that is celebrated at the end of Ramadan or what they called the Month of Holy Fasting.
They do open-house and most of them go back to their respective homestead to celebrate the Season – Malay people call it “balik kampung” which is literally translated as “back to the village.”
Istana Nurul Iman Open-House
Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday in Brunei is the best season to have a tour because in the first place, this is the time when the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence and of course the palace of the Sultan of Brunei, is open for public.
The open-house in the palace often lasts for three days, and it only happens once a year.
During this time, the foods and drinks are free and you are also free take pictures in some areas inside the palace (some areas are restricted) plus a chance to shake hands with the Sultan of Brunei, His Majesty himself, along with the other members of the Royal family.
In addition to that, there are also gifts that are given to the visitors, but usually, inside the gifts pack for normal people like us are snacks.
When you visit Brunei in other months, you cannot enter even in the garden of the Istana Nurul Iman unless of course if you are invited guest, a diplomat or a VIP. On regular days, you are free to have a sight-seeing outside the gate and have a chance to talk with the security guard and have a photograph with them – if you’re lucky enough.
Nationwide Hari Raya Sale
For the people of Negara Brunei Darussalam, Hari Aifilfitri is the most awaited time of the year not only because this is the time when the their Holy Fasting ends but because there are lots of exciting activities happens during this holiday.
One of these exciting activities is the Hari Raya Sale which they can shop for less. Last time, the Brunei Grand Sale was done during the season, but later on, the Hari Raya Sale became known during the season.
Aside from, having a time to visit the palace of the Sultan, Brunei-wide sale or popularly known as Hari Raya Sale is also one of the highlight of the season. This sale often runs for one month and lots of new products imported from different countries are available in cheaper prices.
According to the stories I have heard, few years ago, Bruneians loves to have something new in their respective homes like new appliances, new set couch, furniture and other home furnishing items, but lately, they become wiser on spending their money.
Beautiful Hari Raya Display
How people celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitriri holiday in Brunei is like how people in US celebrate Christmas. Hari Raya is an extravagant celebration in Brunei Darusslalam. The originally known Christmas lights are also used during this very popular Muslim festival.
You will see large ketupats and different Hari Raya decorations being display in different places of Brunei. Most large business in Brunei spends enough budget to set up large beautiful display to attract both foreign and local tourist to visit their place.
Two of the known businesses in Brunei that do that are the Hua Ho Department Store and the Toyota (NBT) Brunei. Hua Ho sets up its displays indoor while NBT showcases its display outdoor.
Though electricity is not expensive in the country, the different types of colored lights, ranging from small LED light to large flood lights which add glamour to the display, are being turned off after 12:00 midnight to save energy.
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Feature photo: Istana Nurul Iman by Christian Trede