A moment to honour the departed amid Raya festivities

National 2 minutes, 21 seconds


AS BRUNEIANS marked the beginning of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri yesterday, many spent moments to honour their departed loved ones at cemeteries in Brunei-Muara district.

Abdul Aziz Hj Abdullah Sani said visiting his late father’s grave at the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah burial grounds has been a family tradition ever since his father passed away three years ago after losing his battle against Type 2 diabetes.

“It’s like this every year now. Ever since my father left us, my mother and I go to Jame’ ‘Asr Mosque to say our Raya prayers. Then we’ll visit my late father’s grave,” said Aziz, who works at an automobile showroom.

He reminded Bruneians to interact more with their families, noting they should put in more effort to spend time with extended family members and relatives who they seldom meet.

“Take this holiday to spend time with your loved ones. This is the best time to interact with your friends and relatives,” he said.

In Brunei, it is customary to visit the resting places of family members and friends during the month of Ramadhan or the first three days of Hari Raya as an act of respect.

During such visits, family members are often seen sprinkling bunga rampai (an assortment of flowers) as a sign of respect and pray for blessings for their loved ones.

Hidayatul Masri, who was visiting her late grandparent’s grave at the Kampung Pulaie gravesite, said while Hari Raya is usually regarded as a celebration of food and friendship, it is also a time to remember the departed.

“My family has been doing this ever since I can remember. We all meet at my uncle’s house for breakfast and then we make our way to the gravesite to pay our respects.

“(But) visiting gravesites shouldn’t be limited to the month of Ramadhan, as it should be done as often as we can. It’s not only a good practice in our culture, but it can be emotionally comforting too,” she said.

Several families were also seen reciting Surah Yasin and tahlil prayers for the deceased at the Kampung Pulaie gravesite, with some seen pouring scented water or air asah asahan on the graves.

Azman, a self-employed businessman who only gave his first name, said he and his family make their annual visit to the Jame ‘Asr gravesite to place flowers at the grave of his late mother who died of kidney failure.

“She was only 43. I was overseas when she was laid to rest,” he said.

He urged the public to spend more time with their families and friends, especially their parents.

“Hari Raya is a moment to bond with family and friends and to re-build broken relationships. Take some time off and be with your family,” he said.

The Brunei Times