We’re excited to celebrate Hari Raya and Eid in full force this year, but the thought of it is daunting at the same time! Here are some tips to ease the family back into family gatherings like the pre-Covid days
When PM Lee announced the easing of restrictions last month, I was excited to do away with masks outdoors, and so ready to get together in large groups again! But with Ramadan underway and Hari Raya approaching soon, it has only just recently hit me that social gatherings and household visitors of up to 10 people, means Hari Raya visitations will resume like the pre-Covid days.
We used to host large family gatherings and visit multiple households a day to ‘tick off the checklist’ of extended family members and distant relatives. Which all feels like a foreign concept now in a post-pandemic world! That said, there’s also lots to be excited about – like seeing all the kids play with sparklers together, friendships blossoming among cousins, reunions with extended family members and old friends… But it can all still be pretty overwhelming, especially for families with young kids. So if you’re feeling the pressure to suddenly get back into the swing of things after two years of Hari Raya in lockdown, you’re not alone.
Here are some tips on how to ease your family (and yourself, mama!) back into house visits and family gatherings this festive season!
1. Manage your expectations
If you’re a new parent, it can feel really exciting to celebrate your first Hari Raya as a family! You’ll definitely want to show off your adorable little one to all your family and friends. However, keep in mind that bringing a baby or kids out for a whole day will feel very different from your experience of house visiting pre-kids. Sufficient prep is necessary, including bringing enough milk (if you’re bottle feeding), diapers, snacks (for older tots) and maybe even toys or books to keep them occupied if they start getting antsy.
Be open to changing your plans at the last second (because you never know what emergencies may crop up!) and remember that we celebrate Hari Raya for up to a month in Singapore, so there will always be more chances to go visiting if that particular day doesn’t go according to plan.
2. Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page
Have a united front and agree on certain things beforehand, such as what time you’ll start and end the day. This can be tough if one person is more introverted and prefers to keep visiting to a minimum while the other is more extroverted and doesn’t mind being out all day and socialising with various family members and friends. But it’s important to keep your children in mind, and will be better for your sanity overall. You don’t want to be dealing with cranky kids and forcing house visits on the whole family if they’re going to be grumpy for the better half of the day!
Watch for signs that show your little one may be getting over tired. If your kids are old enough, make sure to check in with them every once in a while between house visits and ask them if they’re OK with resuming the day’s visits, or if they prefer to head home.
3. Limit the number of houses to visit
Did you also spend Hari Raya visiting anywhere from 8 to 10 houses a day as a child, or are you normal? Jokes aside, some families do take pride in the ability to visit multiple households in a single day, but it’s not for everyone. You may want to discuss as a family on the number of houses you think is feasible before heading out. Besides, visiting fewer houses means you’ll spend more quality time in each one, holding longer, more meaningful conversations with relatives or friends you haven’t met in a while.
4. Politely decline guests if you’re tired
You may receive calls in the evenings from relatives or friends asking if you’re home and accepting visitors. It can be awkward or feel impolite to decline them (especially if they claim to already be “on the way”!) but don’t feel obliged to extend an invitation if you’re too tired or simply don’t feel like it that day. Offer them alternative dates instead, and make mention of when are the best timings for them to come over. For example, you can say afternoons are preferred and evenings after 7pm are off-limits to make room for the kids’ bedtimes and for you to wind down for the day!
5. Do what’s best for your family
With all that said, I understand that not everyone is comfortable resuming everyday life activities during the endemic phase – you could be worried for your very young, unvaccinated kids, or live with immunocompromised family members who cannot afford to be exposed to the virus. Whether Hari Raya visiting means meeting your closest family members in the first week or going out for a house visit every weekend, you do you, mama!
Good luck, and here’s to a fun and safe Hari Raya for all!