Kongsi Raya is a Malaysian portmanteau, denoting the Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid ul-Fitr) festivals. As the timing of these festivals fluctuate due to their reliance on lunar calendars, they occasionally occur close to one another. For the sake of convenience, Malaysian media took to combining "kongsi" (from the traditional Chinese New Year greeting, gong xi fa cai) and "raya", the Malay word for "celebration", which is often used to denote the Muslim Eid ul-Fitr festival ("Hari Raya Aidilfitri"). As the Hindu festival of Deepavali also occasionally occurs around Eid ul-Fitr, the portmanteau of DeepaRaya has also come into common usage.
Malaysia's national-level Kongsi Raya celebrations are now held in Johor's Danga Bay where they draw up to 300,000 people. A related portmanteau to Kongsi Raya is kongsi puasa, referring to some non-Muslims who also observe the traditional Muslim fast during Ramadhan. (Puasa being the Malay word for fast.)
Like DeepaRaya, Kongsi Raya has been criticised by some conservative Muslims for allegedly placing a Muslim festival on par with a non-Muslim one. This includes PAS, a major opposition political party, which has expressed concern that the practice of celebrating Kongsi Raya might negatively affect Muslims' aqidah (faith). Islam is the official religion of Malaysia.
Notes and references
- "Johor's Danga Bay to be venue for `Kongsi Raya' celebrations", New Straits Times, December 12, 2003.
- Razak, Dzulkifli (Oct. 22, 2006). "Troublesome kiasu affair", p. 35. New Sunday Times.
- "PAS also doesn’t favour Kongsi Raya". (June 16, 2006). Malaysia Today.
- "Balik Kampung". Retrieved Nov. 1, 2005.