Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion celebrated by Muslims all around the world. It is a celebration that marks the end of an arduous month of fasting from dawn until dusk. Traditionally, the observance of the holiday begins with the sighting of the new moon, as the Islamic calendar is based on the phases of the moon.
The day is filled with family gatherings and exchanging of sweet treats and gifts. It is the time of the year where Muslims will don new garments and put up colourful lights along with other decorations in their houses, to welcome friends, family and neighbours for sumptuous food and celebrations. Of course, the celebration differs from country to country and every culture has their own unique twist to it. Take a look at how it is celebrated across the nations of the world!
Muslims start off their Eid with congregational Eid Prayers early in the morning. It is customary for them to pray at the nearest mosque or open air areas, dressed to the nines together with their family.
In places like Afghanistan and Nigeria, Muslims gather at large open areas like sports grounds or parks for their prayers instead of mosques to accommodate for the large crowd. They stand in prayers shoulder to shoulder in a sign of universal brotherhood- a distinguishing feature of Islam.
Eid is also the time to reminisce and honour loved ones who have passed on. It is common for Muslims to visit the deceased and offer their prayers. In addition, this act of remembrance serves as a reminder for Muslims to live their life well as death may come at any given moment.
Of course, what is a festive occasion without mouth-watering cuisines? Traditional dishes, including ones that are exclusive to Eid are prepared for the whole family. Additionally, it is common courtesy to share and exchange dishes with your extended family, friends and neighbours, even if they practice a different faith.
Sweet treats are a must during Eid and each country has their own fair share of dessert favourites. In South Asia, a ball shaped milk based dessert immersed in sugar syrup are popular amongst locals. Variations of it are called Cham Cham, Barfi and Gulab Jamun. Whereas in Turkey, pastry type sweets are preferred like the famed Baklava.
A Day of Joy
In India, Eid is celebrated mostly by visiting relatives and friends. However, in the Middle East, it is common to celebrate Eid by going to carnivals, attending concerts or even sporting events.
In Barka, Oman camel races are held to mark the start of Eid. Ministers as well as dignitaries will grace this traditional sport. The games are held in high regard as it is seen as an Omani cultural heritage.
Meanwhile in India, women, especially girls will decorate their hands and feet with mehndi. It is customary for them to beautify and temporarily tattoo their hands and feet with intricate designs.
Eid al-Fitr might be observed differently everywhere, but whether it be visiting relatives or going to a carnival, what matters the most is to be happy with the ones you love.