Marking end of Ramadan with Eid Al-Fitr
As the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close, it is time for Muslims all over the world to get ready for their favorite holiday. The end of Ramadan is festively celebrated between Monday and Wednesday with Eid Al-Fitr. Louma works at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Oman and talks about how she spends this special day.
Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and is one of the most important holidays for Muslims. During Ramadan, Muslims won't eat or drink during the hours of daylight. The practice of fasting serves several spiritual and social purposes. Experiencing what it feels like to be hungry and thirsty so you feel compassion and a duty to help the poor being one of them.
The end of Ramadan is usually after 29 or 30 days, depending on the visibility of the new moon's crescent. It can differ per country when the holy day starts, this has to do with the different time zones and astronomical calculations.
The day starts with an early visit to the mosque for a morning prayer known as “Salat Al Eid”. After the prayer, there is food and drinks with family. For most children it is even more fun because they also receive presents.
The festivities last for three days and vary from country to country. Most Muslims visit friends and family, exchanges presents, enjoy feasts and put on new clothes. In many countries, Eid Al-Fitr starts with eating something sweet, but after that there are just as many savory dishes on the menu.
Eid Al-Fitr means 'feast of breaking the fast', after a month of fasting. ‘In the Sultanate of Oman we celebrate the first day of Eid by attending the Eid prayers in groups after the sunrise known as Salat al Eid’, Louma says. ‘After prayers, we head back home to greet our families and loved ones before getting ready by dressing up elegantly in traditional clothing: Dishdasha and Masar for men and boys and Jalabiya for women and girls.’
This is followed by celebrations at an elderly family members home, whilst feasting on special food such as ‘Shuwa’, which is meat slowly cooked and marinated underground in a special bag made from dry palm leaves. This is mostly eaten on the second day of Eid however some consume it on the first day, with tanoor bread. ‘Games, laughter, and dessert end our sweet evenings of the first and second day of Eid.’
‘In essence, Eid al-fitr is an occasion and opportunity to remind us to be grateful for all the gifts we have been bestowed upon and rejoice this with our loved ones. We give our youngsters 'eidiya' which is money or a special token of gift in celebration of this occasion.’
‘The three days of Eid in essence are a time for our families and friends to come together to feast on food through appreciation, gift each other presents (mostly small notes of money for the children) and dress up in new clothes whilst giving back to the needy community with contributions, prayers and blessings of peace and well-being.’