What Is Your Fondest Raya Memory?

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June 23, 2017 | BY Dian Pasquinal Kaur

The arrival of Syawal always evokes a special nostalgia. Datin Alissa Fitri, Syomir Izwa Sen Gupta, Nazreem Musa and Dr Farrah-Hani Imran share their most heartwarming Raya memories with us.

raya memories.jpg (original size)

]From left: Datin Alissa Fitri, Syomir Izwa Sen Gupta, Nazreem Musa and Dr Farrah-Hani Imran.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is finally here and the festivity is in the air! After the month-long fasting, attending buka puasa get-togethers, and  shopping for Raya outfits; it is time for reflection and renewal as family and friends gather over a splendid Raya feast.

As we welcome the exciting month of Syawal, we have one half of Malaysia Tatler’s Most Entertaining Host 2002 – Datin Alissa Fitri, fashion designer Syomir Izwa Sen Gupta, fashion maven Nazreem Musa and former national gymnast Dr Farrah-Hani Imran share their most fondest Raya memories.

Swipe left to read their tatler_tatler_stories.


Datin Alissa Fitri

Raisa and papa seeking forgiveness - a tradition we do after prayers and family breakfast copy.jpg (original size)Daughter Raisa seeking forgiveness from Dato' Sufian Majid on the first day of Raya many years ago.

What do you always look forward to during Raya in your younger days?

When I was young, one of the things that I look forward to was helping my mum make Raya cookies. Our favourite – cornflakes biscuits and a simple butter cookie known as "Biskut Arab".

What’s the one thing you always miss during Raya these days?

Without a doubt, my mum.

Which songs or movies bring back those Raya memories?

When we were young, my grandma, aunties and all the cousins – after heavy breakfast and lunch – would lounge on the floor in my grandma's living room and watch Tan Sri P Ramlee’s movies. Our all-time favourite is Tiga Abdul. I am laughing just thinking of those days. When I was in secondary school, I loved the Uji Rashid and Hail Amir's Raya medley.

How are you recreating these memories now?

These days, I look forward to Raya mornings when all the men in our family dress smartly in their baju Melayu, all ready for morning prayers while we girls prepare breakfast and wait for them to finish their Raya prayers.

We all eat breakfast together (with Sheila Majid’s Raya songs playing in the background) and proceed to ask for forgiveness from each other, a tradition that we grew up with since we were young.

I used to organise big Raya open house for years but since my daughter Raisa started working abroad in 2010, we usually fly out to be with her on the second day of Syawal because Raya is all about the family being together. We never forget to bring some of her favourite Raya goodies and cookies.


Syomir Izwa Sen Gupta

Syomirfamily.jpg (original size)Syomir with his grandparents in Ipoh.

What do you always look forward to during Raya in your younger days?

What I looked forward to the most during Raya were the gatherings with cousins and fun aunties & uncles in Ipoh, the endless chatter and taking pictures in our latest Raya fashion. In the evenings, we have barbecue and bunga api sessions. And not to mention, the anticipation of collecting duit raya. 

What’s the one thing you always miss during Raya these days?

Honestly, I miss looking at Malay girls in sexy kebayas with corset underneath or the roomy kebaya labuh or kurung pesak gantung worn with nice earrings and elaborate hairdos. Everyone is looking like Arabs these days with the niqab, fake lashes and coloured lenses. On a more serious note, I really miss having my grandparents around in our 1961 Ipoh house in all its glory years.

Which songs or movies bring back those Raya memories?

Any Anuar Zain and Ellina's songs for sure, or Tan Sri P Ramlee’s classic Raya number – Suara Takbir – which will always be my all-time favourite! For movies, it has to be Ali Setan the first part as it brings lots of innocent and sweet memories when the world was simpler. 

How are you recreating these memories now?

I believe most of my creations through every collection that I’ve put out will always tell a story of the different stages in my life. I always try to recreate nostalgic memories through colours, tatler_tatler_stories and prints.


Nazreem Musa

nazreemfamily.jpg (original size)Nazreem's grandfather remains a charismatic role model his family still looks up to till this day.

What do you always look forward to during Raya in your younger days?

Eid has always been a simple affair with my family members coming together to make the celebration a joyful one. It's really about getting the family to be back at one place, which happens to be my grandparents'. The best part is actually the journey back cause everyone gets to be in the same vehicle and then spend so many hours on the road. Those were some really fun times! 

What’s the one thing you always miss during Raya these days?

Family is very important to me. My grandparents have always been the reason we come back for Raya and the void can really be felt now that they're gone.

Which songs or movies bring back those Raya memories?

Everyone has a particular song when they hear it, they know Raya is around the corner and mine happen to be Suasana Hari Raya by Anuar Zain and Ellina. I also like the way Raya ads make you feel after watching it, they're good. 

How are you recreating these memories now?

It’s not easy recreating memories because once the moment is gone, it is impossible to bring it back. But as much as possible, my family always try to create beautiful memories during Raya. We still continue the family tradition to be together during this festive season. The Raya prayers, the gatherings and all.


Dr Farrah-Hani Imran

Farrah-Hanifamily.jpg (original size)Dr Farrah and her family pictured here with the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.

What do you always look forward to during Raya in your younger days?

My brother Amar and I would look forward to mum's amazing cooking. We are mixed with mainly Malay-Punjabi heritage, so we grew up with mum cooking a wonderful fusion of true Malaysian cuisine. We also loved spending time as a family with my cousins in my great grandmother's kampung house in Batu Pahat.

What’s the one thing you always miss during Raya these days?

Mum, my brother Amar, hubby Enda and I are all in the medical field, so we often have been working over Raya. So there's not a massive emphasis on Raya period. Raya is when we are together as a family. I do miss spending time with my cousins. We are all spread out globally now, so we don't get to actually meet except at major life events such as weddings and funerals.

Which songs or movies bring back those Raya memories?

I spend a lot of time abroad, so when I miss home – not just for Raya – I just watch P Ramlee movie clips or video call my mum and bro.

How are you recreating these memories now?

By spending time as a family whenever possible, including family road trips. Smartphones have made it super easy to keep in touch with one's inner circle from anywhere in the world. We don't recreate memories, but create new ones. My Irish husband has an astute insight into the Malaysian life. There are many similarities between Malaysian and Irish cultures. So during Raya, we will do something Raya-ish wherever we are.


Take a peek at some of the #OOTD of friends of Tatler during Raya last year.