Monday, August 27, 2012

A Royal Affair!

There was such a grand build up to Hari Raya or as it is known in the rest of the world as Eid-El- fitr. The shops were jam packed with shoppers buying table linen, crockery and cutlery. It is traditional for everyone to have a new outfit and the pantry to be stocked up. As Hari Raya, which translates into "days of celebration", fell on a Saturday and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were public holidays as well. The city folk took good advantage of this situation and lost no time of heading off to family homes for this special time!

We had been invited together with our Malaysian Family to attend a luncheon or "Open House" at a real "palace" to celebrate this esteemed holiday. I confess I was extremely excited and just a little nervous! Do you bow, curtsy, kiss the hand? Do you dare to chat? What do you chat about? And of course the age old question, what to wear?

There is no way anyone like me can compete with the wonderful outfits worn by the Malaysian women and one wonders what the Royals will wear. I have a beautiful mustard yellow top given to me by my friend Cynthia when we visited the family in Bangalore. I had kept this for a special occasion and was dying to wear it. Just ours before setting off I show Moira my outfit and she laughs nervously. Evidently only members of the Royal family are permitted to wear yellow!! Back to the drawing board and out comes my good old faithful red top which was fine!

Even little Joshua was in traditional clothes and looked so cute!

We had to drive a way to get to the function and wherever we looked,the buildings and flags were decorated with the National flag. It all looked so festive. In Malaysia it is traditional to have an Open House to which friends, family and neighbors are invited. When a member of government holds an Open House it literally means it is Open to everyone.. There is no pomp and ceremony. You arrive, eat and leave. Some people bring gifts of flowers and biscuits but there are no expectations.

The tables were set with lovely fresh white linen and there were many dishes to feed the masses. We were ushered into the inner chambers and into a lovely banquet room, furnished beautifully. The room was carpeted with a magnificent blue carpet and had huge blue chandeliers. The entire Family had arrived from all corners of the world and the wife was such a gracious hostess. She chatted easily and described some of the newer dishes she had included on the menu. She loves cooking and has written several cook books!

Malaysian food is HOT! I was very cautious taking just a little of this and a little of that. One of the safer dishes is satay which also has a little chili in the peanut sauce. The array of deserts was amazing including lovely fruit cake minus the alcohol....(whispered to me by the Hostess.) my photos are few and not that detailed but we decided not to appear rude by snapping away during this esteemed time. It really was fun and the memories of this day will be with me for many reasons!!


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