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Holidays /BRUNEI

Halina Bednarz 2006-12-01

Date Event
Monday 01 January 2007 Hari Raya Aidiladha *

Hari Raya Aidiladha
Celebrated by the Muslims, Hari Raya Aidiladha or The Festival of Sacrifices has a long interesting history where the Prophet Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son for Allah The Almighty, other than that, this Hari Raya Aidiladha was an indication of the end of Hajj for the Muslims who have gone to Holy Mecca each year.

The Muslims celebrated this Hari Raya Aidiladha differently from celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri where the Muslims had celebrated it after a month long of fasting by visiting relatives and friends. For Aidiladha, the Muslims make prayers and sacrifice either a goat, sheep or cow – this depends on the family's financial position and intentions. The slaughtered meat will then be given as alms to the
other Muslim people. It is believed that the animal that the family has slaughtered will be brought back to life in the Judgement Day as a transport for the family.


Tuesday 02 January 2007
In substitution to 01 January 2007 New Year 2007

Saturday 20 January 2007 First Day of Islamic New Year 1427 *

Monday 19 February 2007
In substitution to 18 February 2007 Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Starting with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later where the Chinese community celebrate the Lantern Festival, Chinese New Year symbolizes a reunion of family apart from prosperity, good luck and fortune of one's family.

On the eve of Chinese New Year, red packets or 'Ang-pau' are given to children and bachelors. It's believed that if you put your 'Ang-pau' under your pillow and stay wide awake up to midnight, you will see the God of Wealth and this will bring long life to your parents.

In the first day of Chinese New Year, the Chinese usually visit the father's side of family. The departed ones are remembered with great respect since they were responsible for laying the bases of the family's good fortune and glory. Their presences are acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged on the family banquet table.
This symbolizes family unity and honour of the past and present generation. It's bad luck to wear black and white since this symbolizes death and misfortune. It's also forbidden to sweep or clean the house for the first three days for fear of brushing away the family's luck – so keep in mind to not spill any food or drinks! For the rest of the 15 days, the family will then visit other relatives
especially from the mother's side. Here, the Chinese will feast, talk, play games like Mah-jong and the children will have splendid time playing fire crackers which the Chinese believed the loud bangs it made will scare away evil spirits. Oranges are also given to visitors which symbolize good luck and fortune to them.

Saturday 24 February 2007
In substitution to 23 February 2007 Brunei Darussalam's 23rd National Day

National Day

Brunei National Day, every year is celebrated on the 23rd of February. Brunei became an independent sovereign nation on 1st January 1984, from the British government after nearly a century settling in Brunei Darussalam. Every year, this most waited event is celebrated with participation of the people of Brunei from all over the country, involving ministries, private organization and even students from various schools and levels. In addition mass prayers and reading of Surah Yaasin are held at mosques throughout the country.

Saturday 21 March 2007 Maulud Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wasallam

Maulud Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu’ Alaihi Wassalam.

In Brunei Darussalam, this occasion is known as the Mauludin Nabi S.A.W. Muslims throughout the country honour this event. Readings from the Holy Koran - the Muslim Holy Book, and an address on Islam from officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs marks the beginning of this auspicious occasion. His Majesty the Sultan also gives a royal address and with other members of the Royal family, leads a procession on foot through the main streets of Bandar Seri Begawan. Religious functions, lectures and other activities are also held to celebrate this important occasion nationwide.

Thursday 31 May 2007 Anniversary of The Royal Armed Forces

Monday 16 July 2007
In substitution to 15 July 2007 His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 61st Birthday



It is one of the grandest celebration in Brunei. His Majesty was born on July 15, 1946. It is usually started with a special assembly at Taman Sir' Omar Ali Saifuddien in the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan. This is followed by a special annual rewarding and giving out rankings to His Majesty's followers. At night, there is usually a big dinner held at the palace for the distinguished guests from inside and outside Brunei. Fireworks display are shown at the end as a climax. Bazaars are held in every districts in conjunction with His Majesty's birthday. Highlights includes visiting and "beramah-mesra"- where the Sultan meets the people - in all the four districts of Brunei.

Saturday 11 August 2007 Israk Mikraj *

Thursday 13 September 2007 First Day of Ramadan *

Ramadhan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. The first day of Ramadhan is decided by the result of observing a new moon. If the new moon is visible that means the very next day will be the first day of Ramadhan or on the next two days if it is not in sight. It is a special month where Muslims are fasting, neither eating nor drinking before it's time to break fast. It is time to pray, do good deeds, don't do bad things and month to pay the "zakat", known as alms.

Saturday 29 September 2007 Anniversary of Revelation of The Quran *

Nuzul Al-Quran

Since Islam is the main religion in Brunei Darussalam, various Islamic commemorations are celebrated which includes the Nuzul Al-Quran. Nuzul Al-Quran commemorates the giving of the first verses of the Koran to Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. It falls on the 27th of Ramadhan in the Islamic calendar. However, in the normal calendar the date varies as it depends on when the fasting month (Ramadhan) starts. Every year there is a theme for the celebration. The theme for 2006 is "Appreciating Islam in Improving the Nation's Competitiveness." Big events are held such as the recital of Quranic verses competition which is attended by the Sultan of Brunei and the royal family.

Saturday 13 and Monday 15 October 2007/ Hari Raya AidilFitri *

After a month long of fasting, we anticipated the arrival of Hari Raya Aidilfitri with excitement pulsating in our veins. Every Muslim’s house in Brunei would be perfectly clean, beautiful and the air around is filled with festivity. Most Bruneians would celebrate Hari Raya for a week even though Syawal is a month long.

Traditionally, the morning of Hari Raya’s started with the Hari Raya prayer which the men goes, while the women busy preparing food and themselves. The most excited ones are definitely the children because they’ve got new clothes and the prospect of receiving ‘green-packets’ from the elders are perfectly overwhelming.
Early in the morning of the first day of Raya, we go to the mosque for Hari Raya or Aidilfitri prayer wearing new clothes; and listen to the Imam giving lectures or "Khutbah" reminding us on the true meaning of this celebration and things to do or not to do. Then some people go straight to cemetery to visit their late family members as we shouldn't ignore and not misses them although there're no longer with us. Most will go to the patriarch's home where family members gather around to ask for the old folks' forgiveness and enjoy sumptuous meals together.

Hari Raya is all about visiting friends and relatives in the spirit of friendship and unity. "Open houses" is the other one with endless food serving: just like the other celebrations in Brunei where the highlight of the festivity of course centres around eating!! This is the time we could call as an "Extravaganza Food Fest". Some of the popular and cannot be missed traditional food served are rendang (stew), ketupat, satay, kelupis and nasi himpit. Other than that most houses will have Kek Gulung Tapak Kuda
(Horseshoe Roll Cake), Kueh Mor, Keropok Udang (Prawn Crackers) and fizzy drinks ready on the table for serving visitors.

Of course, children are the heart of all celebrations. Hari Raya is where the little ones, decked in their new attire go around collecting green packets from the elders. At night, every Malay houses celebrating Hari Raya will be lighted up with colourful bright bulbs and children playing sparklers and firecrackers as noise of celebration adding the festive mood.

One of the specialty of celebrating Hari Raya in Brunei is that, we are able to visit the Istana Nurul Iman, the Sultan's palace to come and visit His Majesty the Sultan and the rest of the royal family and greet them a happy and joyful Hari Raya.

Thursday 20 December 2007 Hari Raya Aidiladha*

Monday 25 December 2007 Christmas Day

Christmas Day
Throughout the world, 25th of December marks Christmas day, a significant day for all Christians. Christmas is nevertheless a joyous and colourful celebrationenjoyed by Christians throughout the country. However, it is common for Muslims (the major population of Brunei Darussalam) to embrace the spirit of the celebration because there is a wonderful acceptance of each others' traditions. While Muslims do not necessarily place equal significance in the celebration, it is a common sight for them to take part in the celebration such as in the Christmas sales, promotion dinners and also by giving gifts to their Christian friends.

Teacher's Day is also celebrated on every 23 September but it is not listed as a public holiday.

Teacher's Day
Teacher's Day falls on the 23rd of September. It is a celebration to honor and appreciate the endless days of patient teaching by the teachers in Brunei. Every year, like most celebrations in Brunei, there is also a theme for Teacher's Day. The theme for this year's celebration, "Teachers the Foundation To My Success". Big events are held throughout the country. One big event is the awards presentation to selected teachers by the Sultan of Brunei. Events are also held in schools and usually the events are organized by the students. The events usually include stage performances for teachers and giving gifts to teachers as a sign of appreciation. Stage performances always include singing the songs created specifically for teachers. Such a song is the "Guru oh Guru" (Guru is a Malay word for teacher).

Father's Day - celebrated on every 3rd Sunday of June
Father's Day

The American date to celebrate Father's Day is on the 18th of June and it has also been taken up by many countries. While it is not recognised as an official public holiday in Brunei, we have also jumped onto the bandwagon to celebrate fatherhood on that day. And like the date, Brunei also shares a similarity with its traditions. So giving gifts and having family dinners are a common sight on the 18th of June in Brunei. Besides the obvious, Brunei also celebrates Father's Day by holding various events in the name of good causes at public places. On the 18th of June in 2006, a local college held an anti-drugs programme entitled "A Father's Faith and Support Will Keep You Away from Drugs" at a busy supermarket in the town. So on every Father's Day, we don't only honour fatherhood but we also seize the chance to increase public awareness on the importance of fathers being role models.


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