Posting Raya cards to strangers to keep tradition alive

Posting Raya cards to strangers to keep tradition alive
As soon as Ramadan arrived, Juliana would ask people, including those on social networking sites, if they would like to receive a Hari Raya card. - Photo for illustration purpose
FOR clerk Juliana Hamdan, 34, the Hari Raya celebration will not be complete without sending out greeting cards to her close friends and relatives, as she has been practising the tradition since her school days.

Worried that the tradition would soon die out, Juliana has for the past two years taken the initiative to send Raya cards to strangers to revive the nostalgia.

Setting aside RM200 for the purpose, Juliana said as soon as Ramadan arrived, she would ask people, including those on social networking sites if they would like to receive a card, and then she would request them to send their address to her via a private message on Instagram account ''jhmdn'' before preparing a card for them.

"During my teenage years, I was always excited and full of hope every time the postman came, as small things like this set the mood for the Raya celebration.

"Now, the atmosphere of celebrating Raya is not like before, so I have taken the initiative of sending cards to people at random, including those whom I don't know, as I do not want this tradition to be forgotten," she told Bernama.
Interestingly, the effort was well received by those studying and living in countries like Australia and Sweden, and she would definitely fulfil their requests, as the card would no doubt lift the spirits of those afar during the festive period.

Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia student Muhammad Ariff Putra Ansaruddin Agus, 26, who is currently pursuing a degree in civil engineering and management said he had been running the 'Kad Raya' project for three years, and he allocated at least RM350 each year to purchase cards, envelopes and stamps for the purpose.

To make things more exciting, last year, he awarded some of those who sent him their postal addresses on Twitter and Facebook with some Raya money in the cards.that

"I always buy a few dozen cards that are sold at reasonable prices, but I will also try to find some unique and beautiful cards as long as the cost does not exceed my budget.

"In the card, I will write words of wisdom and advice as well as a 'thank you' for enlivening the Kad Raya project, and last year, I placed RM6 'duit raya' in each card. But honestly, I can't do it all the time, as I will run out of my budget," he said.

Last year alone, he sent more than 70 cards, with half of them to people whom he did not know, and he also tried to meet the demands of those who wanted different kinds of cards, including musical ones, or those with poetry or cartoons.

"For me, the tradition of sending Raya cards brings back memories of my school days. However, the practice has declined since the advent of technologies such as the short-message service (SMS) and WhatsApp. That's why I try to keep alive the tradition of sending cards to my friends, and then expand it to those whom I only know on social media or some whom I don't know at all.

"I do this simply to share the joy with others in different ways, because at least the recipients feel happy and it brings back fond memories for them, and I believe I will also be rewarded for making people happy and strengthening the bond among Muslims," he said.

Although he may not receive anything in return for his deeds, Muhammad Ariff Putra said he would continue the tradition as long as he was not burdened by it.

"There are some who reply with a card of their own, some upload pictures of cards via Instagram or Twitter where they thank me, and some do not reply; maybe because they don't know my address," he said, adding that the gesture had also led to closer ties with his friends.

The native of Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur also urged parents to encourage their children to send Raya greeting cards to enliven the mood and avoid the practice from going extinct.