Its time of the year again!! Open houses everywhere in office premises, homes and even the Ministers' and King's palaces.
Open house in Malaysia literally means opening up of houses to friends and relatives to come and visit, eat, drink and be merry. The first three days of Syawal month are usually reserved for close relatives and friends. Open houses are held all month long even sometimes until the very last day of Syawal. People of all races and religion take part in Raya Open House, taking the time to visit their Muslim friends and colleagues and savor homemade delicacies.
Hari Raya in Malaysia is truly a festival that's celebrated by all muslims and non muslims and Open Houses has been contagious of late. The concept has also been adopted by other races in Malaysia like the Chinese during Chinese New Year, the Indians and Sikhs during Diwali and Christians during Christmas.
One thing for sure, no one can complain of being hungry during Open Houses. Scrumptious food are prepared aplenty. Women are not recommended to wear tight fitting clothings like the kebayas as it would not be as flattering after all the feasting. I will usually play safe with a baju kurung. :) There is a wide spread of delicious traditional Hari Raya food like the ketupat, lemang, laksa johor, rendang, cakes and raya cookies served and it is indeed very hard to say no to a second or third helping (sigh)
There is no mention of diet (ahaks) because everybody is out to have a great time eating and enjoying each others company. I have a rather difficult time in deciding which Open House i should go because these days, Open Houses are usually held on weekends and they tend to overlap one another. This weekend for instance, i have about 5 invitations on Saturday alone and the houses are opened at the exact same time that is from 12noon to 5pm. It will not be a good idea to go to all the houses firstly because its all far apart and secondly i dont think i can swallow down all those food in a day.
Another interesting part of Hari Raya is , only this time of the year that you cant say no to anyone who wants to come and visit you for Hari Raya. You are obliged to welcome friends and relatives who called upon you and prepare food for them. I have my fair share of visitors and i was practically cooking and preparing Hari Raya specialities from Hari Raya's eve until a week after that. Everyone enjoyed it, even me although i must say its rather tiring.
Regardless of all the complaints ( diet disorder, traffic jams, bloating tummies etc ) the concept of Open Houses really bring people from all races and social backgrounds together. Only in Malaysia we see a mix of Malays, Chinese, Indians and others races congregating happily, eating, drinking and socialising. A jolly good time for everybody i must say...