With about two weeks to Hari Raya, it comes as no surprise that many Muslim families are in the thick of preparing for the festive occasion. This includes ensuring that the house is ready to receive guests, and buying matching outfits for the family to wear on the first day of Hari Raya.
But for some, this year’s festive occasion comes with an added bonus – a new addition to the family. For Mediacorp host Huda Ali, who gave birth on Sunday (May 19), preparations for Hari Raya this year have taken a backseat the moment she and actor-husband Den Sabari found out that she will be giving birth during the month of Ramadan. The celebrity couple also has a six-year-old daughter, Leia Qaseh.
“We had a mini makeover for the house, just to make sure that it is baby ready,” said the 32-year-old, who recently won Best Host at Pesta Perdana 2019, Mediacorp Suria's biennial awards show for local Malay television. “I think I am pretty chilled out this year because I will be in confinement. So, I won’t be going out for the usual round of Hari Raya visiting”.
She added that she is looking forward to her confinement period because that means that she does not have to think about what everyone is going to wear. This year, she revealed, she will most likely be wearing past years’ outfits.
“Every year, I am usually the one to suggest colour themes before we decide as a family. This year, I don’t need to think of how many outfits to buy or dress up for Hari Raya, especially for Leia and I, because I’ll be at home ‘enjoying’ my confinement..
For Ainon Talib, preparations for Hari Raya this year started much earlier than in previous years. While she usually goes shopping during the month of Ramadan itself, this year, the 28-year-old Suria host and actress started looking around in February, after the birth of her second daughter, Adania.
“I have to start early because I need to make sure that I can find something comfortable for the baby,” she said. “It is also a challenge to find something that can match with her sister.” Ainon, together with her husband, Erwan Gunawan, has an elder daughter named Amaya. For their children’s outfits this year, the couple has decided on matching baju Raya styles from local kidswear label Maison Q.
The wearing of similar styles and colours for Hari Raya as a family is a tradition that both husband and wife started when Amaya was born in 2015. Ainon explained: “Before marriage and starting our family, I tended to lean more towards the Arabic style of dressing. So it’s more abayas and jalabiyas, while Erwan is in baju Melayu.”
“These days, Hari Raya preparations can be quite stressful because I have to think of what everyone, including myself, will be wearing.”
For Sarah Bagharib, getting the house baby-ready has also taken over preparations for Hari Raya. The co-host of Mediacorp’s Suria talk show, Wahhhnita!, is due to give birth in the week of Hari Raya itself.
“I actually have not allowed myself to think about going out and celebrating because I may be in labour,” she said, with a laugh. “So, all our preparations have been for the baby – repainting the walls in our room, getting more drawers and shelves because there’s no space in our room anymore.”
As for outfits for this year’s Hari Raya, Sarah said she will be wearing more kaftans to accommodate her pregnant frame.
“I have chosen to recycle my outfit this year and wear a loose kaftan that I already have. Comfort is especially key this time, and I don’t think I would be up to dressing up right after giving birth. So, loose kaftans it is,” she said.
But one thing all three personalities cannot wait to do during the month-long Hari Raya celebration is to take their family portraits – a tradition among many Malay families while dressed in their festive best.
Huda said: “I’m all for traditions and culture during the festive season. We must have a family group photo and my family members will definitely have to wear the same colour outfits.”
Agreeing, Ainon said that she is especially looking forward to taking their annual family photo this year. “I think the arrival of Adania makes the family look more complete. Plus, she will be big enough to be dressed in cute onesies and headbands. Can you imagine the photos?”