Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri folks!

Edited by Anna Popper

The Embassy of Malaysia in Budapest hosted a Hari Raya Aidilfitri “Open House” on 27th April 2024 in the embassy garden and warmly welcomed around 200 Malaysians, heads of foreign diplomatic representations and local invitees to the celebration.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri, also known as Eid al-Fitr, is considered one of the most significant festivals in Malaysia, marking the culmination of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan. It serves as a gathering of family, friends and community, embodying the Malaysian spirit of Muhibbah – fostering friendship, tolerance, respect and understanding. This celebration highlights the unity of diversity and exemplifies the beauty of collective harmony, transcending cultural, religious and ethnic boundaries, which are the shared core values of Malaysian society.

The event witnessed Malaysians from all backgrounds and walks of life residing in Hungary, Slovenia and North Macedonia come together to celebrate in the spirit of unity, a reflection of Malaysia’s strong multi-ethnic harmony. Hari Raya is a celebration of unity and harmony for Malaysians and is truly a festival that reflects the beauty and diversity of Malaysia.

In his message, His Excellency Francisco Munis, Ambassador of Malaysia to Hungary, expressed his joy at how this celebration has deepened the bonds not only among Malaysians living in Hungary, but also between Malaysians and the local Hungarian community. This signifies a meaningful exchange of cultural understanding and people-to-people interactions, a blessing that spreads the Malaysian spirit of harmony beyond the nation’s borders. When inquired about the Malaysian community in Hungary, Ambassador Munis, who is also accredited to Slovenia and North Macedonia, shared insights revealing a community of over 200 Malaysians, predominantly based in Hungary, with some living in Slovenia and North Macedonia. About half of them are students, while the other half comprises working Malaysians and those married to locals. Notably, this community represents diverse backgrounds from all over Malaysia, enriching the Malaysian presence in Hungary with a tapestry of cultures.

I had the wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in the genuine atmosphere and relaxed vibe of the Hari Raya celebrations at this event in Budapest. It was a true privilege to witness and experience this special day in an open setting, enjoying every moment of it to the fullest. Attending this occasion, Malaysians adorned traditional attire, women wore baju kurung (traditional Malay dress), baju kebaya (traditional blouse dress), or jubah (long one-piece dress), while men usually wore songkok (traditional hat) and baju Melayu (traditional men’s gown) – a vibrant display of cultural pride.

The event was further elevated by the enchanting melodies of timeless Hari Raya songs performed on karaoke, evoking nostalgia and fostering a sense of unity among the participants.

No Hari Raya celebration is complete without culinary delights, and the “open house” was no exception. Guests enjoyed a feast of Malaysian delicacies including Nasi Lemak (coconut rice served with anchovy sauce, peanuts and spicy sambal), Rendang (a spicy and aromatic dish made of meat, coconut milk and spices), Ketupat (compressed rice cakes encased in woven coconut leaves), peanut sauce, Lemang (glutinous rice with coconut milk, cooked in bamboo sticks) and Teh Tarik (signature “pilled” tea with milk), a symphony of flavours that provided a taste of home for Malaysians away from their homeland.

Also in attendance were Prof. Dr. Muhammad Lee Chee Pheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Asia College of Exercise Medicine (ACEM) in Malaysia, and his family. Professor Lee was honoured with the prestigious Doctor Honoris Causa award from the Hungarian University of Sports Science (HUSS), recognizing his exceptional contributions to promoting human health and quality of life through exercise. The award ceremony, held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of HUSS, coincided with the 24th International Student Science Conference (ISSC) in Budapest.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Malaysians filled with blessings, happiness and prosperity.

Sources: Embassy of Malaysia in Budapest, Hungarian University of Sports Science (HUSS)

Photos by the Embassy of Malaysia, HUSS, DPA