The advent of the month of Zulkaedah tomorrow, sees the “official ending” of this year’s Raya festivities period.It has been a hectic one month.
It started with our trip back to kampong in Ipoh in the wee small hours of the morning, complete with on-the-road sahur. It ended with a flurry of activities – visits mainly – to close, as well as, long-lost relatives.
During my childhood days, I would glee in anticipation of Hari Raya for the new baju, mercun, bunga api and duit raya. It is now my children’s turn to enjoy such things. For I have now “advanced” to a different level, so to speak.
What I look forward to now is just being back with the big family – my brothers and sister and my parents. And instead of waiting to receive goodies, the joy for me now is also in the giving. Helping my parents to do the chores around the house – cutting the lawn grass, buying stuffs for preparing the Raya spread, or sometimes even helping to bakar lemang.
But there is another satisfaction which I get these past few years. It is something which I could never even start to comprehend during my mercun-playing days.
This is the joy of meeting relatives – especially the elders – trying to get to know them better and, in the process, strengthening our silaturrahim.
Is it a sign that I am getting old? May be. But so what? I have no qualms with that notion.
What’s for certain is that it has moved me to start collecting family stories and listing down the names of relations, their spouses and their descendents.
To be sure, I have been quite interested in our family’s history, origins and family tree since the day I got married. The idea that two souls from different families could meet and unite, thus unifying the two families, really intrigued me.
So a few years ago, I started carrying my Buku Salasilah Keluarga with me whenever I balik kampung for Hari Raya and do the rounds. As I would discover, Hari Raya is the best time to catch up with relatives and update the Buku Salasilah.
Would I call myself a genealogist? Far from it. But I sure am fascinated with it. I am sure there are many out there who share this same fascination, right?
I would love to learn from those with experience working on their own family genealogy.
In the west tracing family history and genealogy is a big thing. They even have genealogy software programs to facilitate in building and managing genealogical database.
I wonder if any of such programs are suitable for working on Malaysian-Malay families.