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It has been two years since we last celebrated Hari Raya like we used to.

On the morning of May 3, the excitement that I felt as my family got ready to leave the house to visit our relatives was different yet familiar.

Seeing all our cousins, aunts, uncles and even distant relatives all in one house celebrating the special day together is the memory of Raya that I missed the most during the two years of Covid. It is a blessing that this year, we could experience this joyous occasion as a family again.

So as we enter the last weekend for visiting during this year’s Raya, here are some uplifting snippets that made me smile:

Party bus

@ermaothman Mother’s side is always the best ♥️ #Raya2022 #hariraya2022 #fyp #foryoupage #singapore ♬ original sound – Erma Othman

This video went viral on TikTok with almost 120,000 views and more than 10,000 likes.

It shows TikToker Erma Othman’s huge family going for their annual Raya visits on a tour bus. What made it go viral is that it’s the first time in two years that people get to see a large extended family going out together.

With the restrictions lifted, it’s time for an excursion and we got to tag along in the video, as we follow Erma’s family to the different houses filled with guests.

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This heartwarming sight prompted a user to comment on how the house was so full, people had to sit on the stairs (“Rumah penuh duduk kat tangga dulu lah.”), to which Erma responded happily that they even sat in the corridors! (“Itu betul! Atau lepak pat corridor dulu, take turn to masuk rumah makan.. berbual dengan tuan rumah”)

Another user, Reyla, commented, “Wah dah lama tak nampak “bus raya” ! (Wow, it has been a long time since I saw a raya bus).”

Now or never

Raya 2022
Mira (bottom left, in green) Image source: Mira Sorfina

Another family welcomed the lifting of the restrictions after two years by going big.

Mira Sorfina, 19, tells The Pride: “When we got the news, we were excited and immediately began making plans to resume our gatherings for Raya.”

She recalled how her family were excitedly chatting on the family Whatsapp the night before Raya about what food to prepare for themselves and their guests, the new clothes that they were going to wear and how they were decorating their homes for the gatherings.

“It really felt like old times, and this time we were excited that we were expecting our extended family,” says the 19 year old.

2022 Raya
Image source: Mira Sorfina

It was a joyous occasion for all to come together and spend time as a family once more.

Her family even shared that now with the land borders with Malaysia being open, they are planning to go back to their grandparents’ kampong this weekend.

Mira says that she wishes a safe trip to all Singaporeans who are planning to visit family in Malaysia.

“This is a blessing that we can’t take for granted,” says Mira, adding that even with relaxed restrictions, we should still take precautions to protect ourselves so that we can continue to enjoy the season.

Reconnecting with family

Hari Raya 2022
Izhar (middle, in green), with Erwin seated on his right. Image source: Muhammad Izhar

During Raya, it is customary to seek forgiveness from your elders, family, and friends. And Izhar Malik, 19, took the chance to reconnect with his relatives.

His family invited many close relatives to visit, taking advantage of the relaxed restrictions.

Izhar tells The Pride that he was so happy to meet his cousin, Erwin, also 19. They were close when they were younger but drifted apart recently, he says.

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It was a family reunion for many of his relatives.

“The best part about Raya this year was to see everyone together in one house,” says Izhar.

Just like Mira, Izhar says that he was excited to get a chance to wear a new baju malayu to celebrate Raya with his family. To make Raya 2022 even more special, his older brother Irfan is also getting married this year.

#Raya 2022

#Raya 2022
Image source: Izhar Malik

Seeing families reuniting in big gatherings again brings joy to my heart. As a Muslim celebrating Raya in 2022 with my brothers and sisters, I can sense the excitement in the air.

What makes it even more special is how social media platforms like TikTok let us share in the excitement and copy the trends that popped up this year under the hashtag #Raya2022.

Like this “sunglasses” trend, which is a fun way to bond with the relatives with a video, not to mention showing off your huge family on social media!

But it’s not just faddish fun clips that have been flooding my For You Page. This Raya, I’ve been getting so many videos of friends simply filming their Raya outings.

@nv.rynzyesterday’s jalan raya &lt3♬ suara asli – gabut woi

After two years of Covid, seeing everyone meeting their extended social groups — wearing their new baju, taking public transport together (or hiring a bus!) or just hanging out at each other’s homes — is a heartwarming sight.

It definitely gave me an idea on what to do when I meet my friends!

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If nothing else, this year’s Raya celebrations have reminded me not to take family and friends for granted and that we should all do our part to ensure more opportunities to spend Raya like this again in the coming years.

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