Shopping malls and restaurants are generously decorated with hanging green and gold ketupat, and you keep hearing that one guy singing “Balik Kampung! Oh! Oh! Oh!” wherever you go. Maybe you’ve heard that song one too many times, but what he’s saying is actually what many Malaysians are looking forward to for the whole month of Ramadan.
Balik Kampung means ‘going back to hometown’ in Malay. It’s the equivalent of Christmas in many Western countries. All our artisans take time off to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri in their hometowns.
“I go back to Kelantan (on east coast of Malaysia) every year with my family. It’s a time without the worries that I usually have. Instead, I have other types of worries, like ‘how am I going to eat all the food I want that I cannot get in KL?’. Those are the good type of worries,” shared Noor Bashira when asked about what’s the most exciting part about “balik kampung” (above: Noor and her family).
“Because my kampung is in Sarawak (East Malaysia), I cannot afford to fly back every year for Hari Raya. Some years, I visit my children in Penang. I’m happy when I’m just celebrating with my daughter in KL, too,” Dayang expressed.
Sisters Ida, Fitri and Yana with their children
“We visit our four other siblings in Perak (another state) during Raya. We later make a trip to Kelantan to visit Fitri’s children who we only get to see once a year. It’s a lot of time and money to travel, so we try to make it worth it by doing it all at once. Fitri’s kids in Kelantan are so cute and precious; it’s a shame we can only see them during Raya,” said Yana. She lives with her sisters, Ida and Fitri, in two-bedroom flat in Kuala Lumpur with their younger brother and two children.
Visiting families is a luxury during the holidays for our artisans. Aidilfitri is truly a special time of the year for them filled with joyful reunions and tearful goodbyes. Our artisans worked hard during the fasting month, obtained well-earned bonuses, and are off to “balik kampung” for a rest!
Selamat Hari Aidilfitri from all of us at the Batik Boutique to you and your families. And safe travels if you go “balik kampung”!
Pop by our studio and learn more about what we do at:
3, Jalan 26/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
8:30 am – 5:30pm
We'll be closed on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th June for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.