Malaysian family of 700 gather for Eid reunion

Gathering brought together about 683 people from 100 families descended from village founder Tok Nai Din.

Afp August 21, 2012

KUALA LAMPUR: Nearly 700 descendants of the founder of a village in northern Malaysia gathered in what is believed to be the largest family reunion for Eidul Fitr celebration in the country.

Family head Syeikh Alauddin Syeikh Abu Bakar told AFP Tuesday the gathering brought together about 683 people from 100 families descended from Kampung Paya Pahlawan's (Warrior's Swamp Village) founder Tok Nai Din.

"We only know that he came from Thailand in 1792 and his tomb is in Paya Pahlawan. He may have been involved in the 1821 war with Siam," he said, referring to the Siamese kingdom's conquest of the state of Kedah.

The village no longer exists, having been converted into a cattle farm, and the gathering took place 20 kilometres away in Alor Setar, the state capital of Kedah.

Among illustrious members of the family are former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and a member of his successor Najib Razak's staff, Syeikh Alauddin claimed.

Muslims, who form the majority of the population of around 27 million, make the yearly exodus to their hometowns after the holy fasting month of Ramadan to meet their extended family members.

It was the family's 39th annual meet and saw members coming from as far as Britain, United States, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, and cost 4,000 ringgit ($1300) to cater.