Hari Raya is getting closer and in less than two weeks, Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr (aka Aidilfitri) for 1433 Hijriah. Although Ramadhan is only a half way through, preparations for Hari Raya has actually begun for most of us. Shopping malls are packed with shoppers who are in the hunt for cheap bargains. Other than the usual preparations like buying new clothes, new household equipment, and bake (or buy) traditional cookies, there's another thing that we always do before Hari Raya - change new currency notes. It became a practice since way back as if the older notes become obsolete every Hari Raya. I think it goes that way because during Hari Raya, we must look fresh and new. So does our paper money. Old, soiled and smelly bank notes certainly are valid and hold the same value as the number printed on them but for Hari Raya, new notes are preferable. New ones come uncrumpled, with fresh smell most probably the odor from the mint of Bank Negara where banknotes were produced and safely kept.
Just in time for Hari Raya celebration this year, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has started the circulation of the new series of Malaysian Ringgit currency notes on 16th July. The new banknotes are part of a series of paper money themed "Distinctively Malaysia". It is said that the theme idea came from the country's various culture, heritage and nature. The design look quite different than previous series of money. Other than differences in look and feel, BNM has also used the up-to-date technology in banknote security in order to prevent counterfeiting. For this new series, RM20 note is now revived after it has gone missing from normal circulation many years ago. I still remember the old brown banknote of RM20 which I used to keep for personal collection but later misplaced it.
In total, there are six denominations for these Malaysian legal tender. The smallest would be the blue RM1 note, printed on polymer material. It spots the traditional kite-flying activity on its back putting Moon Kite (Wau Bulan) in the highlight. RM5 note, which is also printed on polymer substrate features the largest hornbill, the Rhinoceros Hornbill on its back. Flower-themed RM10 is still a red paper note with Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world as its motive. On the new RM20 banknote, there are a couple of turtles being featured. Those are from the Hawksbill and Leatherback genuses of sea turtles endemic to the local marine surrounding. One thing I like about this RM20 note is its orange color. I can't wait to open up my wallet and see some 'oranges' popping out of it. RM50 needs no explanation as it features one of the most important commodities of Malaysia - the oil palm. By the way, RM50 notes have been around for quite sometime, ahead of the others in this series. Lastly, the largest denominations available, the RM100. Highlighting Mount Kinabalu of Sabah and Gunung Api of Sarawak, this purplish banknote features natural wonders of Malaysia.
I've got my change of new notes for this Raya, how about you? Rush to the nearest bank while stocks last. Happy Eid!