BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Istana Nurul Iman ushered in the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri on Friday with the royal family hosting a special reception for VIP guests.

In an annual tradition, His Majesty the Sultan and Her Majesty the Raja Isteri, along with members of the royal family, welcomed current and former cabinet ministers, the diplomatic corps, members of the Legislative Council and senior government officials for a special Aidilfitri get-together at the palace.

In keeping with the festive season — which marks the end of the fasting month and the beginning of the Muslim month of Syawal — the atmosphere was buzzing with merriment.

The Istana banquet hall was filled with a lavish spread of culinary delights for invited guests, from a whole roast lamb and caviar to candied fruits and local Hari Raya cakes.
This year’s feast also included a dedicated cold seafood station, with an endless supply fresh oysters, mussels, scallops, prawns and lobster delicately arranged on top of each other.

Members of the royal family were seen exchanging many laughs and light moments with their guests, and casually moved around the hall to speak to as many individuals as time permitted.

His Majesty also joined hundreds of worshippers for Hari Raya prayers at the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque earlier in the morning.

Istana Nurul Iman will open to the public for three days during Hari Raya, beginning on Saturday, June 16. Members of the public can visit and dine at the palace, as well have the chance to exchange handshakes with members of the royal family during the junjung ziarah (meet and greet).

This uniquely Bruneian experience begins on the second day of Eid every year, and is open all residents in Brunei as well as tourists who would like to experience the festive season at the palace. Opening times are from 10am to 12pm and 2pm and 4pm.