Destiny in last Ramadan nights


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Getting COVID19 vaccine shots would not violate sunrise to sunset fasting during Ramadan, Islamic religious authorities say.

Praying and reading the Quran are best activities on any of the last 10, odd numbered Ramadan nights when the most blessed night of Lailatul Qadr (Night of Destiny) can occur: When the Quran was first sent down from heaven to the world.

“Lailatul Qadr is better than a thousand months,” says a Koran special su-rah (chapter).

To receive blessings, doors, pot lids and crockery covers are left open; songkoks (oval, brimless hat) are upturned.

During Ramadan, Muslims take pre-dawn meal (sahur), give alms and charity, perform nightly Tarawik prayers, conduct Koran recitation vigils or Tadarus, give food for fasting people, and pay Zakat Fitrah or personal charity for the poor through collectors or online payment.

Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr on May 13 or 14, 2021 celebrates Breaking the Fast: A time for reconciliation, to seek forgiveness, to enhance families’ and friends’ friendship ties, to forgive and share.

Since the 1970s, Brunei’s Hari Raya is symbolized by ketupat, boiled rice wrapped in palm leaves pouch, which Filipinos call puso, bugnoy, patupat or tamu.

“Open house” hosts serve square ketupat cubes with beef or chicken rendang (coconut stew); satay or barbecued skewered meat in peanut dip; sayur lodeh (vegetable soup), and soto (soup).

Ketupat casing are woven from dried, spineless, pressed nipa leaves (daun puchuk) then filled with two-thirds uncooked rice before boiling.

Square or diamond-shaped ketupat allows moisture to drip and aerates cooked rice.

Bruneian farmers and hunters bring ketupat as provision. Boiled rice compressed in leaves keeps spoilage away during sea voyages. Cakes are stars on Hari Raya’s table of plenty.

Host Dominator Soriano aka Hjh Fauzana Abdullah of Lumapas serves 12 cakes she baked with durian and other ingredients. Anyati Orcullo of Davao taught Fau how to bake.

Because of Covid19, the Philippine Embassy has yet to host a diplomatic reception during Ambassador Christopher Montero’s first two years’ tour of duty.

In 2017, his predecessor, Ambassador Meynardo Montealegre, hosted a Hari Raya open house attended by HRH Princess Hajah Masna, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ambassador at large, and her spouse.

Filipino food lumpia (spring roll), biko (sweet), puto and kutsinta (steamed) rice cakes; cassava cake, maja blanca (coconut pudding) sapin-sapin (layered glutinous rice cake), polvoron (Spanish shortbread); Magnolia avocado, cheese, chocolate, mango and ube ice cream were served in vinta-inspired stall at International Convention Centre.

In Malay open houses, Kek Kepala Meja cake greeting Selamat Hari Raya ‘heads’ the table. The ‘betrothal cake,’ baked by unmarried daughters, can only be cut by the suitor interested on its baker.

He can cut the cake to indicate suitor family’s representative would soon formally ask from her family the baker-daughter’s hand in marriage.
Supermom DJ Enny on first Raya Day misses her mom’s cooking; the smell of cakes and biscuits baking in oven; and the long, road trips across the border to visit families, grandparents.

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