The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr (the festival of breaking fast). Family and friends gather together to honor this religious occasion by sharing delicious food and wearing their finest clothes. The celebrations start with a morning cleansing (ghusl) followed by morning prayers at the local mosque. Eid is also a time of sharing and caring for others with many families donating excess food to those most in need (Zakat al-Fitr). Those are all common traditions, but many Muslim communities around the world also have individual differences on how they celebrate Eid al-Fitr, let’s take a look at some together.
If you happen to find yourself in Egypt during Eid, you will notice that public gardens and zoos are popular family locations. During the three days of Eid al-Fitr families get together to reconnect and spend time with the older members of the family.
The small Muslim community in Iceland endure one of the toughest Ramadan in the world. With the sun remaining in the sky for longer than usual, during the summer, they could be fasting for up to 22 hours a day. So, when they can finally celebrate Eid, they do it in style. Many gather together in one of the few mosques in Reykjavík, sharing prayers, food and exchanging gifts with friends and family members.
Celebrations in India and Pakistan are full of color and tasty dishes. Women tend to decorate their hands with Mehndi, wear festive clothing and colorful bangles and jewelry. Houses are decorated with intricate light displays and family and friends share delicious dishes like mutton biryani and sheer khurma (a pudding made of milk, raisins, nuts, and vermicelli).
Also known as Lebaran, Eid al-Fitr is a grand celebration in Indonesia during which huge crowds bang drums, carry torches, and light up firecrackers.
Many people also practice Mudik (homecoming), with those who leave away from home, making time to travel back and spend Eid with their families.
Eid al-Fitr is all about ‘open houses’. Everyone decorates their home with pelita (oil lamps) and serves traditional food like Ketupat and Kuih Raya. People, irrespective of their status or religion, are welcome to visit the houses and share food and stories.
Women spend most of the day before Eid al-Fitr preparing cookies, pastries and Msemen (Moroccan pancakes) to be served with a mint tea at breakfast. Men usually wear traditional shoes (balgha) and women show off their gorgeous kaftan dresses.
Auckland goes all out for Eid al-Fitr. After the morning cleansing and prayers, families descend to Eden Park for the bi-annual Eid Day. This festival is an occasion for families and friends to spend time together by partaking in different activities like human foosball, carnival fun, and try delicious treats from regional vendors.
If you are in Singapore during Eid, take a trip to the Geylang Serai area. During the celebrations, the streets are lit by a spectacular display of colorful kaleidoscopic lights. The area is also the home of the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar with vendors serving traditional food alongside bubble-tea desserts and flaming marshmallows.
During the celebrations, it is a tradition for the youngest members of the families to receive Riyals (Saudi currency) from the adult members. The locals also make sure to leave rice and other foods to the doors of those most in need.
If in Egypt people flock to the botanical gardens and zoos, in Turkey is all about the beaches and the hot weather. Whilst the first day of the celebrations is all about families, the second and third is all about swimming, fishing, and sun-filled activities by the coast.
United Arab Emirates
The celebrations in UAE follow a more traditional route with spending time with families at the top of the list. Cleansing and morning prayers are followed by a feast usually at the grandparents’ house, sharing traditional dishes like Balaleet (sweet vermicelli noodles topped with an omelet). The country also organizes many cultural events to celebrate the festivities.
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