Hari Raya Aidilfitri* (it is also known as Eid al-Fitr outside South East Asia) is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide. How did Muslims in Asia Pacific celebrate this year’s Hari Raya? The leading global online polling and research firm, YouGov, conducted an online survey in early July 2016 in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to investigate how people see this festival and what they value most about this festival.
Non-Muslims in Singapore are also celebrating Hari Raya
Looking at the online source** about percentage of Muslims among the total population in these 3 countries, Indonesia has the highest percentage of Muslims (88%) among the 3 countries but from our survey, only 76% of the respondents plan to celebrate Hari Raya this year. In Malaysia, where 6 out of 10 people are Muslims, there are 65% of respondents saying they plan to celebrate Hari Raya. In Singapore where the percentage of Muslim is the least (16%) among the 3 countries, interestingly there is a higher percentage (27%) of respondents who plan to celebrate Hari Raya. It is suggesting that non-Muslims in Singapore are also celebrating this festival.
Majority of people want to stay with family and loved ones during Hari Raya holiday
Among those who plan to celebrate Hari Raya, the top 3 activities people plan to do in Indonesia and Malaysia are being with family and loved ones (95% in Indo and 93% in MY), visiting relatives and friends (72% in Indo and 76% in MY), and attending communal prayers at the mosque (76% in Indo and 64% in MY). However in Singapore, while being with family and loved ones (74%) and visiting relatives and friends (54%) are still the most common ways to celebrate Hari Raya, only less than 40% of respondents plan to attend communal prayers at the mosque (36%). Instead, more people in Singapore like feasting with traditional delicacies (53%), sending greetings to relatives and friends (43%), or giving children token sums of money (38%).
On the contrary, those who don’t plan to celebrate Hari Raya, most respondents just see Hari Raya as another day off. And the top 3 activities for this group of respondents during the holiday are being with family and loved ones, visiting relatives and friends, and travel for leisure in domestic area. The trend is similar in the 3 countries that we polled.
Singaporeans like Hari Raya as it’s a public holiday and don’t need to work, while Indonesians and Malaysians like it as a good opportunity to gather with friends and relatives
Looking at what people like most about Hari Raya, many respondents like it as a public holiday as they don’t have to work (22% in Indo, 25% in MY, 53% in SG). Many of them also like it as a good opportunity to meet up with friends and relatives (38% in Indo, 37% in MY, 17% in SG). In Indonesia and Malaysia, there is a significant amount of respondents (20% in Indo and 13% in MY) like Hari Raya because it’s a time to reflect and remind themselves of the important values of life.
Worship is predominantly the most important value underlying Hari Raya in the eyes of Indonesians, but not for Malaysians and Singaporeans
There are different important values underlying Hari Raya and respondents in the 3 countries we interviewed demonstrate different views. Over half of the respondents in Indonesia think worship (56%) is the most important, then comes to steadfastness (15%), and empathy for the poor (11%); while respondents from Malaysia think empathy for the poor is the most important (28%), followed by patience (18%) and worship (16%). In Singapore, 28% respondents think empathy for the poor is the most important, then it is worship (19%) and patience (10%).
Indonesians like eating Ketupat, Singaporeans and Malaysians like Rendang
There are lots of authentic cuisines and traditional delicacies during Hari Raya period. Ketupat (rice cooked in a packet woven from coconut leaves) is the favourite food during Hari Raya period in the eyes of respondents from Indonesia; while Rendang (meat cooked with spices and coconut milk until almost dry) is the favourite food during Hari Raya among respondents from both Malaysia and Singapore.
Over half of Malaysians plan to go back to hometown to celebrate Hari Raya this year
During Hari Raya this year, over half of respondents in Malaysia (51%) plan to go back to their hometown for celebration, and actually over 70% of them (74%) visit their hometown every year during this period of time. In terms of transportation, over 70% of respondents (72%) drive their own car / motorcycle to visit their hometown. Almost 20% take airplane for the visit (19%).
While in Indonesia, 4 out of 10 respondents (41%) plan to go back to their hometown this year for Hari Raya and over half of respondents (53%) visit their hometown every year during this period of time. Most people drive their own car / motorcycle (44%) or take airplane (28%) to visit hometown.
However, in Singapore, only less than 10% of respondents (9%) plan to go back to their hometown during this period of time as over 60% of them are already in their hometown.
Data from research was collected among YouGov’s panelists during 2nd July to 8th July 2016 and was weighted to be representative of online population. Sample size: Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (Total n = 3,020; with Indonesia: 1,015; Malaysia: 1,004; Singapore: 1,001)