Muslims Mark Eid Ul Fitr from Middle to Far East

Published August 29th, 2011 - 21:19 GMT

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Saudis, Muslims world-wide, are gearing up for Eid by spending time in the markets to stock up on traditional treats and perhaps a new outfit, (above at the Mecca market in central Riyadh). Saudi nationals can still make Umrah (the year-round holy pilgrimage) while foreigners must wait til after the Eid.
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Image 1 of 13: Saudis, Muslims world-wide, are gearing up for Eid by spending time in the markets to stock up on traditional treats and perhaps a new outfit, (above at the Mecca market in central Riyadh). Saudi nationals can still make Umrah (the year-round holy pilgrimage) while foreigners must wait til after the Eid.

INDONESIA, JAKARTA: Eid preparations include city workers traveling to be with family, making their way home to celebrate Eid.  A  mini migration of Indonesians, seen at this Jakarta train station, heading to their hometowns to celebrate the close of this month of faithful devotion and to enjoy a break from work in the city.
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Image 1 of 13: INDONESIA, JAKARTA: Eid preparations include city workers traveling to be with family, making their way home to celebrate Eid. A mini migration of Indonesians, seen at this Jakarta train station, heading to their hometowns to celebrate the close of this month of faithful devotion and to enjoy a break from work in the city.

Nepal: Nepalese Muslim men prepare food to break the fast after the Jummat-Ul-Vida, the last Friday prayers, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival at the Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu. Sweets are often a center-piece in this three-day festival of a little decadence after a month of fasting.
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Image 1 of 13: Nepal: Nepalese Muslim men prepare food to break the fast after the Jummat-Ul-Vida, the last Friday prayers, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival at the Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu. Sweets are often a center-piece in this three-day festival of a little decadence after a month of fasting.

Palestinian preparations: In the West Bank city of Hebron, following universal Eid custom, Muslims buy new clothes for Eid. Often they can use their 'Eidiyeh' (the money gifts traditionally bestowed upon child members of the family - especially from grandparents) to buy new clothes or treats.
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Image 1 of 13: Palestinian preparations: In the West Bank city of Hebron, following universal Eid custom, Muslims buy new clothes for Eid. Often they can use their 'Eidiyeh' (the money gifts traditionally bestowed upon child members of the family - especially from grandparents) to buy new clothes or treats.

Saudi-meets UAE: Dubai's ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum, wearing white robes, is offered traditional sour coffee in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, before he reaches his destination at the holy city of Mecca where he will perform Umrah just before Eid.
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Image 1 of 13: Saudi-meets UAE: Dubai's ruler and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum, wearing white robes, is offered traditional sour coffee in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, before he reaches his destination at the holy city of Mecca where he will perform Umrah just before Eid.

India: Kashmiri Muslims offer Jummat-Ul-Vida, the last Friday prayers, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival outside the historic Jamia Masjid mosque in Srinagar. On Eid, after taking a fresh bath, everyone wears new clothes, if they can afford so, or else clean washed clothes. Some Muslims go to graveyards to pray for salvation of the departed soul.
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Image 1 of 13: India: Kashmiri Muslims offer Jummat-Ul-Vida, the last Friday prayers, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival outside the historic Jamia Masjid mosque in Srinagar. On Eid, after taking a fresh bath, everyone wears new clothes, if they can afford so, or else clean washed clothes. Some Muslims go to graveyards to pray for salvation of the departed soul.

Philippines feast on 'ketupat' - a food item served in most households during Eid.  It is a staple food made from rice, wrapped by coconut leaves, similar to the common 'sambusak' concept enjoyed in the Middle East and beyond. Ketupat or kupat also can be found in Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Singapore.
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Image 1 of 13: Philippines feast on "ketupat" - a food item served in most households during Eid. It is a staple food made from rice, wrapped by coconut leaves, similar to the common 'sambusak' concept enjoyed in the Middle East and beyond. Ketupat or kupat also can be found in Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Singapore.

Syria, Damascus: Hoping for a peaceful religious festival away from the wider Syrian turmoil this Eid, a Syrian Muslim boy attends the weekly Friday prayer at the Omayyad Mosque in central Damascus.
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Image 1 of 13: Syria, Damascus: Hoping for a peaceful religious festival away from the wider Syrian turmoil this Eid, a Syrian Muslim boy attends the weekly Friday prayer at the Omayyad Mosque in central Damascus.

KSA: A Saudi man buys incense outside a shop at the Mecca market in central Riyadh in readiness for Eid, 
the holiday following Ramadan. Traditional spicy scents are prevalent, as people enjoy the setting the mood, and marking
the festive flavor of the occasion.
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Image 1 of 13: KSA: A Saudi man buys incense outside a shop at the Mecca market in central Riyadh in readiness for Eid, the holiday following Ramadan. Traditional spicy scents are prevalent, as people enjoy the setting the mood, and marking the festive flavor of the occasion.

Bangladesh: Bangladeshi travellers queue to collect tickets at a railway station in Dhaka, ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Fitr. City workers make their way home for the holiday.
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Image 1 of 13: Bangladesh: Bangladeshi travellers queue to collect tickets at a railway station in Dhaka, ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Fitr. City workers make their way home for the holiday.

Saudi Arabia: Dancers rehearse for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations at the Masmak quarter in the Saudi capital Riyadh, days ahead of the three-day feast which marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
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Image 1 of 13: Saudi Arabia: Dancers rehearse for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations at the Masmak quarter in the Saudi capital Riyadh, days ahead of the three-day feast which marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Nepal: A Nepalese Muslim man preforms the Jummat-Ul-Vida, the last Friday prayers, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival during the month of Ramadan at the Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu.
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Image 1 of 13: Nepal: A Nepalese Muslim man preforms the Jummat-Ul-Vida, the last Friday prayers, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival during the month of Ramadan at the Kashmiri Mosque in Kathmandu.

Saudi nights filled with lights: Saudis walk on King Abdullah Street decorated with lights ahead of celebrations for Eid al-Fitr. Lights mark the whole season of Ramadan and are aglow during Eid especially, sometimes complementing firework displays.
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Image 1 of 13: Saudi nights filled with lights: Saudis walk on King Abdullah Street decorated with lights ahead of celebrations for Eid al-Fitr. Lights mark the whole season of Ramadan and are aglow during Eid especially, sometimes complementing firework displays.

When does Eid Ul Fitr fall?

The joyous three-day festival, Eid Ul-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking), which begins after the sighting of a new crescent moon, marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, during which devout Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. Eid Ul-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month after Ramadan in the Islamic calendar.

It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy. Eid also represents the beginning of preparations for the Hajj period which ends with Eid Al-Adha, and is approximately 70 days after Eid Ul Fitr. In Mecca, during Eid Ul Fitr,  there is a moratorium on Umrah pilgrims for these 3 days of Eid, unless the pilgrims are Saudi in which case they are permitted to visit Mecca.

The start of the Eid Ul-Fitr is often appreciated with a morning breakfast....

According to tradition of 'how to do Eid':

Before the day of Eid, at the closing of Ramadan, Muslim families give a set amount for donation to the poor. This donation is of actual food -- basic staples -- to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking).

On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early morning in outdoors or at mosques to perform prayers for Eid.

After the Eid prayer, Muslims tend to disperse to visit various family and friends, give gifts (in Arabic the eidiyeh especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday. By tradition, younger members of the family usually take this opportunity to visit the elders or pay their respects to the senior members of the extended families.

At these visits it is customary to be served with Maamoul - a nut or date-filled cookie-like sweet, often individually wrapped. Ma'amoul is served in celebrations in the Middle East. It is good form to accept your maamoul offering, rather than to politely decline. And since it is understood that you may be doing many family rounds of visits, it is considered OK to pop your accepted cookie into you bag for later, since you risk otherwise spoiling your appetite for the big feast at lunch!

A large family meal is usually taken for the first day of Eid either hosted by one member of the family (either once again at the elder's house, or perhaps the eldest married child's home, whoever is more fit to host and cook for the entire family). In modern times, some families may opt to dine out for the first day of Eid or the following days.

Habits and customs of the Eid

The following are some of the things a person traditionally is recommended to do at Eid:

1. Take a bath (Hamam al Eid)
2. Brush ones teeth. (if you don't do so all year round!)
3. Take a hair cut (men only!)
4. Clip nails. (to look tidy and presentable when visiting the family elders!)
5. To wear new clothes (or clean clothes if you can't afford a new outfit!)
6. To apply perfume. 
7. To perform Fajr at a local mosque.
9. To pay Zacca or Fitra. 
10. To eat odd numbers of dates before going to open air Eid prayers or to eat something sweet. 
11. To go to mosque one route and come back home another.

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