KUALA LUMPUR, May 22  – Somewhat sad that they could not travel back to their hometowns for this Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Noor Hafiza Yosni and Faizul Shafie did the next best thing. They brought the joy of the festive season home.

“We wanted to console ourselves, so we decided to paint the house, fix oil lamps around it, and put up decorative lights to liven the mood for Hari Raya,” Noor Hafiza said.

 The couple, both 34, and their three children are among the many city folks who are not able to go back to celebrate Hari Raya this year following the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) which prohibits interstate travel as it could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 among family members.

So together with their daughter Nur Adelia Humaira, 8, and sons Muhammad Addeen Hariz, 5, and Muhammad Adam Hariz, 3, the couple are spending Hari Raya in their home in Puncak Alam, Selangor.

“This is the first time we are celebrating Hari Raya in our own home since we settled here five years ago. This is also the first time that we have painted our huse. We are not excited (about not going back to the hometown) but a little nervous.

“We just want to create a different atmosphere from before. It will at least console us over not going back,” she told Bernama when met at their home recently.

The family has also made good use of their time at home by cleaning it, fixing new curtains and baking cookies in preparation for Hari Raya.

Noor Hafiza said, usually they would take turns celebrating Hari Raya in their respective hometowns either in Lenggong or Lumut, Perak.

 “It was a must for us to go back to celebrate Hari Raya and each time, we would usually spend a week there. Our hometowns are not far apart, only about two hours drive away.

“We both come from large families and there are many activities we would do with our relatives such as going visiting, making lemang and playing with fireworks. This year, however, it is different, as we all have to celebrate in our own homes,” she said.

Meanwhile, Faizul said he realised that the CMCO was for everyone’s good, so he will only be accepting visits from close family members on the first day.

“We will also insist that those who come wear masks, and we are also providing hand sanitisers,” Faizul, a technology engineer, said, adding that the guests must also observe social distancing.

He also urged others to take all the necessary steps to maintain hygiene as a way of supporting the government ‘s efforts to break the chain of COVID-19 infections.

Meanwhile, Yang Suhaini Abd Aziz, 41, and her husband Shazrizal Dahalan, 44, said for safety reasons, they had long decided not to go back to Linggi, Negeri Sembilan for the Hari Raya celebrations this year.

“My in-laws are elderly and suffer chronic diseases, so they are at high risk of complications from COVID-19 infection,” she said.

Instead, the couple, together with their three children – Muhd Afiq, 16, Muhd Adib,13, dan Muhd Aqeef, 9, – will be making a video call to the old folks on Hari Raya day.

Yang Suhaini said she made use of the time at home to bake cakes and cookies for Hari Raya.

“This is the first time I have made the cookies, because before, I just used to buy them,” she said, adding that she had also put up new curtains to add to the festive mood.


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