Making the most of your experience in the happiest city
International student, Rasmuna Shafiee from Malaysia was celebrating her first New Year celebration here in Sheffield.
Celebrating Raya in the summer is very different from the traditional New Year celebration in the UK.
In Sheffield City Centre, the atmosphere for Raya celebration was not seen.
This is due to the small and not-concentrated Muslims community. United Kingdom Census 2001 showed there is 4.6% of Muslim population in Sheffield.
20 international students who are also from Malaysia were invited to the Open House.
A tent had been set up at the backyard to accommodate the number of visitors.
The students were impressed with the food prepared by Rasmuna. There were fried chicken, chicken rice, chicken soup, beef rendang and compressed rice.
Everyone gave thumbs up for the food which they had been missing for a long time.
In the menu, there was spaghetti to serve her neighbours who might not like the taste of Malaysian food.
“People in the UK don’t really like Malaysian food. Their taste seems to be different from us.” said Rasmuna.
After feeding the stomach, students mixed along with the neighbours. They had fun with the dance moves.
Some were relaxing themselves with chatting and watching television.
Rasmuna told that she experienced culture differences. There are a few aspects.
First, people in the UK go into their houses with their shoes on. It is very different compared to in Malaysia where they even wash their feet before go into other people’s house.
Secondly, people don’t really know Muslims’ culture and religion. When Rasmuna was fasting during Ramadan, her neighbours don’t seem to understand.
Thinking that she can’t eat, they offered her drinks instead. In fact, Muslims are not allowed to drink while fasting.
“Back in Malaysia, there is no need for me to explain Ramadan and if I said the word, everyone will understand it.”
Thirdly, the pronunciation is different.
“My neighbours can’t pronounce my name properly. They said it is difficult to pronounce Ras. So, they called me Muna instead.”
About Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a religious celebration by Muslims. It is the day that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of dawn-to-sunset fasting.
Hari Raya is one of the two most important celebrations for Muslims, the other being Hari Raya Haji which is the festival of Abraham’s sacrifice.
In Malaysia, Muslims return to their home during the festival. They will seek forgiveness from families and friends, visit ancestors’ graves, say prayers at the mosque and visit relatives and friends to feast Malay delicacies.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a joyous celebration that involves happy feasting in homes everywhere where family members greet one another with Selamat Hari Raya.