KUALA LUMPUR: More than 20,000 people, including foreign tourists, took the opportunity to celebrate Hari Raya with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Hajah Haminah in conjunction with the Istana Negara Aidilfitri open house here today.
They began thronging the Istana Negara grounds as early as 9am although the event officially began only at 10am.
At the open house, which ended at 1pm, the visitors also took the golden opportunity to exchange greetings with both their Majesties, who also presented ‘duit raya’ to the children and raya cake packets to guests.
The visitors were made up of not only Kuala Lumpur city dwellers but also those from throughout the country.
A visitor, Gracye Gloria Raman, 78, said she did not mind leaving early from Melaka to attend the Aidilfitri open house this morning.
“This is the first time I have visited the Istana Negara. I feel very excited to be able to meet their Majesties at close range,” she told Bernama.
Meanwhile, Razali Zainal, 35, from Jalan Klang Lama who came with his family, said he wanted to experience the event not only to celebrate Hari Raya with their Majesties but also with Malaysians of diverse races and religions.
“The decision to postpone our trip back to our hometown in Perak to attend the function is perfect because it is a meaningful experience for all of us,” he said, adding that this was where they could meet and get acquainted with many people.
Rebecca Schectman from the United States was very impressed with the wide array of Hari Raya dishes served, especially lemang.
“It was such a beautiful event. It is good to see that everybody is celebrating Hari Raya,” said Rebecca, who arrived in Malaysia last week to pursue studies in Bahasa Melayu for a year.
A tourist from Germany Heiko Kaiser, 23, said he was fortunate to be able to experience the Hari Raya festivities in the country.
“We are actually supposed to head to the airport because our flight to Germany is at 3pm. But we could not miss this opportunity to see for ourselves Malaysia’s rich and diverse culture – its people,” said Heiko, who has been in Malaysia since Saturday with his friend, Anna-Sophia Elm, 21.