Hari Raya in Baju

Buzzana Azzhara, Baju made to fit.

Busana Azzahra, Baju made to fit.

Pekambaru, Indonesia, November, 2013

We arrived three days before Hari Raya (In Malay the Feast of Breaking of the Fast), one of the most important festivities of the Muslim world. The day marks the end of the period of Ramadan, the month of fasting, and in Malaysia families and friends get together to eat as many goodies as they can to commemorate the end of this month of guidance.

We had already experienced Ramadan before in Iran, but in Malaysia it was somewhat different. However, out of all those peculiarities that made the festivity distinctive due to each countries culture there was one that stand out in the spotlight.

The traditional clothing worn on Haru Raya  in Malaysia: Baju Kurung for woman and Baju Melayu for men.

Pending Orders

Pending Orders

We were even more aware of this cultural wonder because our friend Apit and his family are the owners of one of the biggest Traditional Baju in Alor Setar the capital of the state of Kedah.

Because of this Baju frenzy, the whole family had to prepare for one week before Hari Raya. The store Busana Azzahra was open from 9:00 am to 1:00 am every day. People were coming in at all times of day. Since Busana Azzahra is also a manufacturer of clothing, most of their orders are custom made and so the must be planned in advance.

The Magic Happens

The Magic Happens

Colorful textiles and the highest quality of linen brought from Europe and India decorated the store of our friend. “It is important for my people to look their best in Hari Raya.” said to us Apit, “and we are working to promote our traditional clothing so people can also feel proud to be Malay.”, he added.

While he was explaining to us the different types of cuts and clothing their family made I noticed that all of them wore what they manufactured. We probably saw 5 types of pants that Apit made for himself using the linen they had just brought from Belgium. His elegance was appreciable, he inspired me to have one for myself and as soon as he found out about my wish, he ended up giving me one as a gift.

World Class Linen

World Class Linen

One of the key factors that this type of style is very popular, relies on the fact that fits perfectly within the dress code stated in the Koran, particularly for women making it the best attire for the occasion.

In Sum:

The Baju Kurung is a loose fitting dress that consists of a skirt and a blouse that covers the woman from her neck, to the feet. Many women complement the dress using a Hijab of a matching color. Although there are two variations of the dress, particularly in the design of the neck, it is essentially the same.

Baju  Karung

Baju Karung

For men, their, Baju Melayu, consists in 4 parts. The first part being the shirt named cekak musang shirt or its variation teluk belanga which differs from its predecessor for having two pockets instead of three, normally at the bottom of the shirt. The loose fitting pants, along with the sampin wrapped around the waist at stomach level. The sampin is a tube like cloth decorated with traditional patterns that is made of kain songket that is mounted to look like a very manly skirt (it is also very comfortable to wear) and lastly the songkok, a dark black cap worn for special occasions.

Baju Melayu

Baju Melayu

Hari Raya in Baju

The day came and all the people I could see on the streets looked very elegant and dressed to impress. I could identify the styles that were bought in Busana Azzahrah and it made me feel proud that I knew the owners.

Men wore beautiful Baju Melayu made out of silk and linen, some of them complemented their attire with golden jewelry and silver watches. The woman all looked beautiful, colorful, I cannot remember another time that I saw so many colors all at the same time.

Elegant Family

Elegant Family

We could not be estrange from it, so Apit and his family gave us two whole outfits that we wore during the day. As I looked at myself in the mirror with my own linen shirt and black and golden sampin, I realized how handsome I felt. “No wonder Malay people love their traditional clothing, it is just beautiful.”, I said to myself. So after we got dressed, both of us, we came down the stairs and were received by Apit and his family with the international sound of fashion astonishment: WOW.

I don’t know about Annika, but I will wear my Baju for the next big party we are invited.

Hari Raya in Baju

Hari Raya in Baju

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