The joys of Eid

After a month of fasting, comes celebration. Vision takes a look at how Muslims from around the world practise Eid Al Fitr – the end of Ramadan

Eid Al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim’s holy month of fasting from dawn to sunset. Eid falls on the first day of the Muslim month of Shawwal, which depends on sighting of the moon. Normally, Muslims start the day with early morning prayers, before showering and putting on their best attires for a special Eid prayer. Those with the means to do so have to offer Zakat al Fitr to the poor – this can be given in the form of cash or food and has to be done before the Eid prayer.

During the three-day event, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid in different ways:

United Arab Emirates

Eid Al Fitr is a very special time for families in the UAE as it comes after 30 days of fasting of the holy month of Ramadan, says Emirati Maryam Al Balooshi.

“It’s a time for gathering and connecting with your family and loved ones,” she says. “Actually as local girls we get into the festive mood a week before it, with preparing the Eid Abayas, garments and traditional Kandooras. Two days before Eid we start with applying Henna as a symbol of celebration.”

Eid al-Fitr meal
The Indonesian rice cake, Ketupat, is a popular dish for a Eid al-Fitr meal in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Southern Thailand

While men prepare for Eid prayer early morning, the women of the house prepare tradition Eid breakfast with dishes such as Balaleet and Eid Fuala, which is mainly fruit, tradition Halawa and sweets. Greetings start after prayer with the young paying visits to their elderly, and adults giving away Eidiyah - gifts and money - to young children.

“When I was younger, children used to go around the neighborhood asking for Eidiyah, which gave a festive atmosphere to the first three days of Eid, but nowadays we see less of that tradition.”

Egypt

After performing family duties and visits the on the first day, Egyptians enjoy the rest of their holidays either by escaping to tourist destinations such as Sharm El Sheikh or picnicking at one of the country’s parks, going to the theatres to watch the latest shows or taking a cruise down the Nile. They also prepare special sweets for Eid, often known as Ka’ak, which is made of a semolina-based dough filled with nuts and covered in powder sugar.

Turkey

What differentiates Eid in Turkey to other countries is they also celebrate ‘Şeker Bayramı’ known as ‘Sweet Festival’ or ‘Bayram of Sweets’, says Ebru Atike Burduroglu, Brand Manager and Systems Engineer at Piyasa LLC, brand owner of Turkish ‘Tike’ restaurant in Dubai.

It’s a time for gathering and connecting with your family and loved ones

“We visit our elders or other family members. You are welcomed in the house with an offer of candy or sweets,” she says. “We have a tradition in these holidays that hurts the older family members’ pockets, but is a chance for young kids to get some money. Once we are at the house that hosts the Eid feast, the youngsters kiss the hand of the elderly and put it on their forehead. That’s when the older family member gives the young Eid money.”