THERE is a Hari Raya Aidilfitri trend that is becoming unhealthy, and has been so for the past six years or so.
The thing with Hari Raya open house nowadays is that they have become a status symbol for urbanites, especially in major cities, led by Kuala Lumpur and other areas within the Klang Valley.
Everyone is racing to open their houses, to a point that they have to cross check and negotiate with friends to ensure their "events" do not clash on the weekend.
And don't even get me started on the amount of excess food prepared for these open house, especially the ones on a larger scale, which usually involve full-fledged catering.
A friend shared her experience of attending an open house of her husband's friend.
Her husband only managed to say "hi, how are you?" to his friend, and that was that.
The host was so busy entertaining the sea of guests, that he couldn't even spend five minutes for a decent and quality conversation with my friend's husband, who endured a two-hour traffic jam on Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) to get to the open house.
It was so different a decade or two ago when we could still go to any of our friends' or relatives' homes during the month of Syawal without too much hassle.
No need to lock dates in your organiser or handheld devices, and the hosts themselves merely served whatever was available in their kitchens.
It didn't matter how many people came over how many days. Whoever came were entertained with much affection, which is the core culture of any Malay family.
Even if it was just kuih raya or simple nasi himpit with kuah kacang, what mattered most was the quality time spent together, talking and laughing to our hearts' content.
But today, the MRR2 near my house is packed bumper to bumper with thousands of vehicles in massive jams.
Why? Because all are racing to attend their fourth, fifth or sixth open house, zig-zagging across the city from Gombak to Puchong, or from Kota Damansara to Bukit Antarabangsa, or from Cheras to Rawang.
Last Saturday was the worst. It was a standstill on MRR2 from 11am until 11pm. That was pure madness.
I guess I am also guilty of joining the throng of open house hosts when I did mine last Saturday.
But mine can't really be defined as an open house as I only invited a few people. I believe small scale get-togethers can ensure quality time spent among friends, relatives and colleagues.
Source: Raya open house: Just too many hosts, and guests