A whole lot of things have been happening over the past week, sending me ricocheting through a whirlwind of emotional and physical state, so to speak. I’m not sure whether it applies to everyone, but in times of uncertainty as such, I almost always find myself scurrying to find a place within the vortex, a sanctuary of tranquility whilst I attempt to make sense of the cacophony of thoughts surrounding me. Being the typical introvert that I am, it is commonly the embrace of monotonous solitude and the inevitable inner voice that paints the setting of silent comfort, as I saw it. Yet as oftentimes I’ve mused, and as frequently proselytised by my mother to her youngest, it is the very silence that could be much too deafening for one’s repository to withstand. And it is then that I’ve grown to learn that just like warm toast with spread, identical twins with matching outfits, rainy afternoons with naps, and ice-cream with cake, certain journeys are meant to be taken with company.
Last Sunday marked the end of Ramadan here in Singapore, and in the last week, Muslim households have been abuzz with activities. Every year, there always seems to be a mad last minute flurry of baking, cooking, cleaning, decorating, and for some, it includes trips to the bank to change money to smaller denominations for the visiting little ones;– the culture here is for the working adults to give the young and elderly token sums of money when they go/come visiting.
Times may have changed, and societal culture definitely has evolved over the years, but Hari Raya Aidilfitri here never fails to bring out the purest and most colourful of traditions in all Malays, be it the older generation or the younger ones. Decked in ethnic clothes, families and relatives visit one another, exchanging well wishes and more importantly, seeking forgiveness for past wrongdoings and mistakes. In a way, Hari Raya Aidilfitri inadvertently becomes a pinnacle and manifestation of the individual’s self-reflection and repentance following the prior month of fasting.
Some say that since we fast for a whole month, therefore the celebration should last for the whole month of Syawal. Because of that, Hari Raya visiting usually lasts the whole month, with the first one or two weeks between families and relatives, while the last two weeks are mostly organised visits amongst friends, particularly the younger generation. In light of the month-long visitors, many houses seem to run out of traditional Hari Raya dishes towards the end of the month, so here’s a super easy non-bake cake recipe you can quickly whip up the day before you’re expecting guests.