While most people place oil lamps at the fences or around the compounds of their houses as decorative items to add a festive mood to celebrations, such a practice is too mundane for housewife Zaleha Mat Min 54, (center). Pic by NSTP/GHAZALI KORI

KUALA NERUS: The traditional Malay oil lamp, or ‘pelita’ in Bahasa Malaysia, is more than just an item to brighten up nights in the last week of Ramadan and the first week of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

While most people place oil lamps at the fences or around the compounds of their houses as decorative items to add a festive mood to celebrations, such a practice is too mundane for housewife Zaleha Mat Min, 54, and her husband Mat Kassim Mat Isa, 59.

They creatively use the branches of a tree in front of their house at Kampung Padang Hangus here as a wooden framework to place oil lamps.

The wooden framework takes on different shapes each year, as the couple wants to have something unique to attract children from the village and nearby villages to their home for Aidilfitri.

This year, the framework is in the shape of a helicopter atop a giant vessel.

Zaleha said they took five days to collect tree branches from a nearby forest to build the framework.

"Our oil lamps are made from recycled items such as the cans of soft drinks. The oil lamps are placed along the tree branches.

"We light up the oil lamps from 9pm to 2am the following day to brighten up our house compound. This has been our tradition since 2001.

"We derive satisfaction from seeing children who come and see our works," she said.

This year, the couple is using 600 oil lamps to brighten up the "helicopter" and "giant vessel".

Zaleha said the only cost she has incurred is oil for the lamps and nails to connect the tree branches.

"As long as the children in my village are happy to see our works, we are already very satisfied.

"We will light up the oil lamps for two weeks starting from the last week of Ramadan," she said, adding that she hopes to spread the message of recycling through her works this festive season.

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