Eidi or Duit Raya or gift of some money to children during Eid or Hari Raya

raya_elderWhen I was very young, in the primary school in Kalaw, we did not have any relatives there. But there were a lot of Muslims even in our road, so we went to all the Muslim houses in our road to get Eidi. Most of them give fifty cents coins or one Kyat. Few of them just give sweets and some invited us to eat food, usually Samai or Sawai. I hate  Samai or Sawai since that time because even few cents of money was better for us. I used to like Samai or Sawai when I grew up. Later when we shifted to Mandalay, we have a lot of relatives and could even get more than 100.00 Kyats. (At that time that was even dozens of times more valuable than the present Ringgit Malaysia. But I never spent even one cent from that money but given to my mother for the save keeping which I never asked back. My younger brother would resist my mother to give to her for safe keeping of that Eidi. When I look back the past, I feel sad that I feel bad (maybe I am wrong) although I tried to win the love of my parents, I failed. Both of them love my younger brothers more than me.

During Eid, the traditional greeting is giving Salam only or sometimes saying Eid Mubarak. We say Assalamu alaikum from the mouth and put our right hand on the fforehead as if giving a salute, but usually there is no shaking hands and rarely only includes a formal embrace.

Gifts are frequently given to others, new clothes are traditional meant for the family members only but it is also common for all the children to be given small sums of money (Eidi) by the elders.

It is common for children to “salam” parents and adult relatives, they usually get money from the adult relative, if the family is middle class or wealthy. Younger family members especially bachlers are given more money, all relatives are given moderate amount but we used to give at least some money as Eidi to all the children we met, at our house or even if we visited their house to give salaam to their elders.

A family elder giving out duit raya and ketupat

Children and old folks are given duit rayaor gifts of money, in small envelopes. In recent years, many givers have opted for the Chinese practice of putting the money in ang pow packets; however instead of the usual red, the packets are green in colour.

This is also a time to forgive and forget past quarrels. Asking for pardon is done in order of seniority. The younger members of a family approach their elders (parents, grandparents etc) to seek forgiveness, to salam (Muslim equivalent of a handshake), then kiss the hands of the older person as a sign of respect.

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