Wishing all my Muslim friends far and wide A Very Happy Eid Mubarak! Selamat Hari Raya my Malaysian friends!
It really must be hard for those who are thousands of miles away from their loved ones on such occasions. My heart goes out to international students who are studying far away from their homeland and are missing all of their loved ones and in particular the special food. To those who are far away from home; I hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit the recipe section of my website designed with Halal recipes in mind, so do look out for Halal recipes from: Beef Rendang, chicken curry, seafood, soups, vegan/vegetarian recipes and desserts to make for your special occasion. Most of all enjoy making it for yourself and others who could be visiting you this new year.
I was so fortunate to have grown up in multicultural Malaysia. I got to visit many homes several times a year to celebrate different festivals throughout the year. In return my friends came to my place to enjoy eating our special foods for Diwali (festival of lights) such as home-made meals like curries with roti, among other delightful treats that we made only for that festival. For that one special day we cooked for a week! It was fun but arduous. I didn’t know any better at that stage in my life. Today maybe I may not be as lively or forthcoming for the hard work which we did out of love. I wouldn’t change anything of my past. I appreciate it for what it was and the values that it instilled in me. I am glad I was shown the joy of sharing with others at such celebrations.
I know only too well what it feels like to be away from family at such a time. In my years away from home I missed out on so many celebrations and because of this I know it is sometimes difficult to hold back the tears when describing to others what it feels like to be ‘away’ for so long. To my delight I felt blessed when one of my siblings (out of nine of them) had the opportunity to visit me for the very first time after I had been thousands of miles away from my own home and family for 28 years. That significant visit was at Christmas 2007.
In my experience such a happy occasion can sometimes turn to heartbreak. I feel people, friends and families need to be sensitive and understanding, particularly at times like these and they need to understand that even though we happen to be living in the same country, culturally we are all different by birth and background and we should all be sensitive to each other’s needs on special occasions that mark another person’s new year. On such occasions, understanding Multiculturalism will really help people on both sides of the equation.
I have adopted Australia as my home but I still pay respect to my deceased parents when the festivals that we used to share together occur. I was born into a family that didn’t celebrate Christmas. Many families do celebrate Christmas in Australia, and in most parts of the West. I still respect my cultural past even though my parents’ traditional festivals don’t hold as great a significance to me now as they had done in my childhood. Respecting their cultural heritage will always remain with me but I have a different life now. Due to this I actually don’t fit into any mainstream categories.
One of my siblings told me that I have become a ‘Westerner’. My mother was more tolerant of my situation. If ever she would make a remark about my life in the West she would laugh with me rather than at me. I admired her understanding and tolerance because she would say ‘you haven’t changed as a daughter or as a person but your surroundings have, as such do what is best for your future’. I have learnt to apply that wisdom and choose to tolerate and understand situations without prejudices.
My final message to all is to keep your heart and mind open; be fair and equal, and allow others to grow in their understanding of others so that they too can instead lead by example.
Happy New year to those who celebrate Eid!