RINGGO RAYO or ‘kenduri Raya’ (Raya feast) used to make Hari Raya Aidilfitri special in most villages in the Saribas state constituency in Betong Division of Sarawak.
During ‘ringgo rayo’, there were lots of food, visitors and friendly chat. It was a tradition in the villages during the Hari Raya celebration.
‘Ringgo rayo’ was held between five and seven days. It usually began immediately after the Aidilfitri prayers.
If you were in one of the villages, as you stepped out of the mosque gates, you would be pulled by the hands to a celebrant’s house where a big feast would await you.
However, after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, the government banned the holding of open houses and feasts including ‘ringgo rayo’ during Hari Raya.
Saribas assemblyman Mohammad Razi Sitam said, “In Debak, ‘ringgo rayo’ would last for several days.
“Even though ‘ringgo rayo’ is not allowed for two years now, I hope this tradition will not disappear. God willing, after the Covid-19 ends, I hope we can revive the practice of ‘ringgo rayo’,” he said.
He explained that special food was prepared for ‘ringgo rayo’.
“If in Debak, the special menu is duck. There are many other menus and many types of food that make ‘ringgo rayo’ really memorable and special.
“I am used to this tradition. So, when there is no ‘ringgo rayo’, it feels strange. Without ‘ringgo rayo’, I really miss the real Aidilfitri atmosphere.”
A villager at Kampung Debak Laut, Abang Suhaimi Abang Mohamad pointed out that ‘ringgo rayo’ was a platform to strengthen ties, especially with distant relatives and friends of other religions.
“We could meet relatives who came from far away and eat together during the celebration. It was fun to have people come over to our house,” he said.
Another villager, Dayang Fadzillah Abang Ahmad loves the food associated with ‘ringgo rayo’.
“I like the spiced chicken, pickled cucumbers, peanut porridge and various traditional cakes such as ‘kuih Cina’, ‘bahulu’, ‘jala’, ‘kuih cincin’ and the Sarawak layer cakes.
“In Debak, my hometown, I miss the ‘ringgo rayo’. I hope the younger generation will not forget it.’