HARI Raya Aidilfitri is a festival that “Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman looks forward to every year because it is the perfect time for him to catch up with family and friends.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis affecting Indonesia and Malaysia, the Negeri Sembilan native has been forced to stay put in Bali. It is the first time the ONE Championship athlete will celebrate Hari Raya without his close circle around him, and though it will be different, Aiman admits it will be one to cherish.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve celebrated Hari Raya at home every year. The past 25 years, every Hari Raya has been a memorable one,” the Bali MMA athlete said.
“But just because of COVID-19, that does not mean I won’t be able to celebrate Hari Raya here. I can still do the same stuff I do when I’m back home. The only difference is that I won’t have my family around me.”
Apart from meeting up with the people he loves, two other elements make the day that marks the end of the fasting month for Muslims a special occasion for him – prayer and food.
“Every year, our tradition in Kuala Pilah is that we stay overnight at my grandmother’s place, and my mom and eldest aunty will handle the cooking,” he said.
“On the morning of the first day of Raya, we will then head to the mosque for prayers. After that, we catch up with one another, before eating lemang and rendang.
“Our celebration is always a simple and meaningful one. That’s about it.”
The “Jungle Cat” can still take part in the same traditions in Bali, and he might even attempt to cook a dish or two just to add some extra meaning to the celebration.
“There’s a mosque located not too far away from the gym, and I will continue my ritual of praying every morning before heading off, and probably hanging out with the guys at the gym” the bantamweight continued.
“I might attempt cooking something while I’m here too since I have a little bit of time on my side. I miss a lot of the traditional dishes too, so it’ll just sort of complete the day for me.”
For Hari Raya 2020, which is expected to fall on Sunday, 24 May, the Malaysian athlete shared his wishes, hoping that the global pandemic draws closer to a finish line, which would in turn make the world a better place once again.
“I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone Selamat Hari Raya, especially to my family and friends. My biggest wish for this year is for the crisis to come to an end, so everything can go back to normal again.”
Keep up with Aiman by downloading the ONE Super App.