What does Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid means to the children?
This year, even before the day of Hari Raya came, the children in Bambini were fortunate to have a glimpse of understanding of the true meaning behind Aidilfitri. This is because, not only were there some Muslim teachers who were observing the fasting month of Ramadhan, but most importantly there were several children who were also starting to practice their fast. From the first day of Ramadhan, these 4 to 6 year old Muslim children, opened up the opportunity for their friends to be customer writing curious, ask questions and increase their understanding of fasting. Their friends saw how Syakir, Shayne and Ihsan endured and persevered through the day without food and water and yet still be able to be actively involved in the daily routines, activities and learning experiences as any other children. Through these day to day interaction and friendships that they have with one another, the other children begin to build their own understanding of the meanings behind celebrating Hari Raya. As such, when the day comes for the children to celebrate Hari Raya together, they had a foundation of understanding that Aidilfitri is not a Malay New Year but a victory celebration of being able to fast for a full month during Ramadhan.
This year, the teachers in Bambini also decided to add an extra value to highlight, which is the value of ‘giving’. A value that is highly emphasized not only during the fasting month but also in the month of Aidilfitri, where Muslims are encouraged to remember the less fortunate amidst their celebrations. In collaboration with a non-profit organisation, ‘Free Food For All‘, we organised a donation drive to collect dry food items and comfort items for a group of elderlies. We thank all the parents and families who have been generous with their donations thus far. The children will be writing Hari Raya cards to add and sorting these items into individual bags to be distributed next week, 4th of July 2017.
At the same time, we did not forget to inject fun on the Hari Raya celebration day where the teachers organised a series of activities that allowed the children to immerse themselves to the local culture of celebrating Hari Raya. We started with a storytime by Teacher Nora with the book ‘How many more days to Hari Raya’ by local writers Fazeelah Khan and Kamilah Kamis followed by a live demonstration on how to weave ketupat.
The children were then split and went through a rotation of three stations; 1. batik painting station with Teacher Iffah for Art Atelier 2. Outdoor station filled with traditional games and 3. a Malay home visit in the basement with cookies and short clip on Hari Raya.
We ended the celebration with a special lunch courtesy of Teacher Nurul and her family, with goodie bags packed with love and care. The children had a try eating with their hands just like how the Malays do at homes. Most of them enjoyed eating with their hands whereas some asked for a spoon by mid-way. All in all they had a lot of fun immersing themselves not only in the true meaning behind Aidilfitri but also the local culture of celebratiion. 🙂