Muslims in Beijing celebrate Raya with prayers, family

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BEIJING: Muslims in China celebrated Eid al-Fitr, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia, on a moderate scale.

As early as 8am, Muslims gathered at the Niujie Mosque, the oldest mosque in Beijing situated in the district of Xuanwu, home to about 10,000 Muslims.

Referred to in Mandarin as “kai zai jie kuai le” (Happy Eid), Niujie is home to thousands of Muslims in the land of the Great Wall.

Ma Xinxin, 29, from Beijing said this year’s celebration was more meaningful because of the large turnout although Eid al-Fitr is not a public holiday in Beijing.

“I am surprised to see the big turnout at the mosque for the morning prayers because Eid al-Fitr is not a public holiday in Beijing,” he told Bernama here today.

Malaysians living in Beijing, especially Muslims, however may miss the festive mood enjoyed in villages back home or the open house practiced in Malaysia as well as the numerous types of cookies prepared for the celebration, but no love was lost for Zaid Shafie, 22.

Zaid, a third-year student at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) said the Eid al-Fitr celebrations this year was special since his family had come to Beijing to celebrate the special day with him.

“I am really excited this year because my family members are in Beijing to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with me. However, we will certainly miss the ambiance of a similar celebration back home,” he said.

His mother Aisyah Kassim, 49, who brought a variety of cookies from Malaysia said celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri in a foreign land was a totally new experience.

“Twelve family members arrived in Beijing today before the celebrations started…we continued to fast and performed the terawih prayers,” she said.

For Mashitah Hidir, 20, a second-year student at BFSU, the idea of deciding to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in China was to experience the culture and ambience of the celebrations in a foreign land.

“The celebrations in Beijing and Malaysia are completely different. I miss my family and friends, the open house, visits to homes of relatives and cookies.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish my parents and my siblings who live in Gerik, Perak,” she said.

BERNAMA