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Soaking up the Eid-ul-Fitr mood

Today is the last Sunday before Eid-ul-Fitr or Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, as Malaysians call it, which is likely to fall on September 10, this year.

Eid-ul-Fitr is the first day of Shawwal, which marks the end of Ramadan, the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar.

This is the day Muslims celebrate the end of fasting and "thank Allah for the help and strength that he gave them throughout the previous month to help them practise self-control".

For some Muslims in Malaysia preparation for the day of rejoicing started early.

Many wives and mothers did their Raya shopping, as we name it in Malaysia, about a month before Ramadan began while others prefer to do it later.

Land Public Transport Commission chief operating officer Shahril Mokhtar window-shopped two days after the start of the fasting month to "check out the prices" and to observe the festive trends this year.

"Today is my actual day of shopping," said Shahril, who was trying skull caps for size at the Jalan Masjid India bazaar.

Sisters Siti Zulaika Mohd Sokri and Siti Marlina Mohd Sokri were also out shopping today. They go for ready-made clothes because they are cheaper than buying fabrics and getting them tailored.

Looking at the crowds out shopping, you could be forgiven for thinking that everyone has plenty of money.

Indeed, many went into the Jalan Melayu/Jalan Masjid India/Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman shopping belt to indulge in some serious shopping.

Bazaar retailers say they are not affected by the recession because they have a steady stream of regular customers.

Here are some photos I took this afternoon at the Jalan Melayu/Jalan Masjid India/Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman shopping area.

Urbanites strolling to their favourite outlets at the Jalan Masjid India bazaar. 

Siti Marlina (left) and her sister Siti Zulaika showing off their new headgear. Hari Raya will be a low-key affair for the siblings and their families.

This skull cap might fit me, says Shahril.

A smile suddenly animates Shahril's face because the skull cap fits well. He plans to browse the stores for Baju Melayu after this.

Young women flock to the henna painting stalls for an edgy Raya look. We want to look pretty for Hari Raya, they say.

Faizal Ahmad is looking for Baju Melayu and hopes he will find something suitable today.

Artificial flowers are always in season and this year's colours are white, pink and peach. People usually buy these flowers on the eve of Hari Raya.

A familiar scene at a zakat or alms giving counter set up at strategic places during Ramadan. The "compulsory giving of a set proportion of one's wealth to charity" is the Third Pillar of Islam.

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