We arrived in Malaysia in late June of last year which meant that it was the middle of Ramadan season. Ramadan is a period of about a month in each year wherein Muslims all over the world fast from sun up to sun down. Each day is ended by an Iftar dinner wherein they break the fast with their loved ones.
It’s a hard sacrifice, definitely. And it makes me respect my Muslim friends even more, knowing that I won’t be able to do what they do even if I try – not drinking nor eating for the duration of the day. I am not disciplined enough when it comes to food to be honest. Maybe I should learn from my friends and sacrifice chocolate for next year’s Lenten season? (Err. Not gonna happen.)
But of course, all sacrifices tend to be rewarded and my Muslim friends here in Malaysia do look forward to the Hari Raya (Eid al Fitr) celebrations at the end of the Ramhadan period. It’s like their own version of Christmas. After being here for a year, I find myself looking forward to it even though I don’t practice Islam (I’m born Catholic plus Catholic school all the way – though please don’t expect me to be the best Catholic out there).
Mostly because even as an expat, I find myself smiling due to the festive season as well. There’s upbeat, celebratory songs playing on the radio and there’s much decor everywhere.
Not to mention I eat more during this season due to the Iftar invitations and that the biggest sales happen during Ramadan and Raya. 😉 See? It really is like Christmas.
Of course, like most holidays, Hari Raya does entail a lot of shopping – gifts for family and friends, food to cook and share, etc. Plus, I noticed the past year that Malaysian culture is pretty heavy on the shopping so it’s no wonder that this country’s malls are on their toes during this season, battling it out in the centre court displays and promos.
One of my husband and I’s favourite malls is 1 Utama. It’s a bit of a drive from KLCC but we like to go to this particular mall due to the variety of shops – we basically have everything we need under one roof. Shopping malls in KL tend to be humungous like the ones we have back in Manila. However, we noticed that some malls don’t carry everything like our trusty SM and Ayala malls back home. Some may lack a place where you can get stuff for the car or even the simple things for the home.
So yes, that makes the drive to the TTDI area much bearable.
Recently, I was invited to the launch of 1 Utama’s Raya celebrations. I had a great time at the event and had to stop myself from going all touristy at the LG Oval Concourse area which they turned into an indoor kampung (village). I’ve never been to a kampung here in Malaysia and my husband and I have been dying to visit one – in Sarawak, perhaps.
I kept bugging my other blogger friends to tell me about their kampungs that day as I find it such an important part of Malaysian culture and is a bit similar to how we Filipinos also go back to our provinces for celebrations during Christmas or Holy Week.
The staff of 1 Utama even brought in real grass into the mall’s oval to actually make the kampung vibe genuine.
We were treated to a cooking demo by celebrity chef Sherson Lian and my friend Arpita was selected to help him out. Personally, I think she can give him a run for his money as she cooks so well and makes the best homemade ice cream. (Unbiased opinion)
They made stuffed Ayam Percik which is a chicken and rice dish, made awesome by a blend of herbs and spices. It’s to die for.
Of course, shopping during Ramadhan and Raya season can be a bit daunting (think crazy Christmas rush!). Malls are often full and lines can be quite long. Still, it is the best time to shop in Malaysia due to the sales and promos that this season comes with. I often find myself going to malls on weekdays during office hours to avoid the crowd. 😉
In 1 Utama, lots of events and promos are ongoing to keep your shopping experience this season lighter and much more fun. Maybank card holders will be getting treats as they shop and OneCard holders will get 3x the points if they eat dinner/break their fast in participating restaurants within the mall.
As a veteran when it comes to shopping and bargain hunting, I do recommend this mall often to my fellow expats and urge them to get out of our own little world that is KLCC. Stuff you want to buy tends to be cheaper as you move away from the city centre. There you go, another shopping tip! 😉
Hope this was helpful and happy shopping to you, my loves! :-*