Eid Al Fitr traditions from across the globe

Eid Al Fitr is round the corner and people across Oman gear up to celebrate the biggest day of the year in their own traditional style. After four weeks of fasting, prayers, and many sacred experiences, it is finally time to celebrate the much-awaited Eid Al Fitr. The pious day the last day of Ramadan and the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal and is celebrated on the sighting of the new crescent.

Muslims around the world mark the day by taking part in a host of activities. Depending on where you are, the festival may have a more localized name.In Turkic countries, it is often referred to as Bayram, whereas some North African cultures refer to it as Eid Seghir or the little Eid. Under usual circumstances, the day starts with prayers, and a big meal is usually the main event, but there are lots of ways and traditions by which people celebrate the special occasion.

From Turkey to Iceland and Middle East, here are some Eid traditions around the world that differ by region but encompass the same feelings of joy across the globe:

Turkey
In Turkey, Eid-Al-Fitr is known as Ramazan Bayrami (Ramadan festival) or Seker Bayrami (festivals of sweets). People wear their new clothes referred to as Bayramlik and wish each other that translates to ‘May your Bayram (Eid) be blessed’. It is a public holiday, where government offices and schools are generally closed for the whole three-day period of the festivities.

It is of utmost importance to honor elderly citizens by kissing their right hand and placing it on one’s forehead all the while conveying the Bayram greetings. It is also important for young children to go from door to door around their neighborhood, wishing everyone a “Happy Bayram,” for which they are rewarded with candy, traditional sweets such as baklava and Turkish Delight, chocolates, or a small amount of money at every door, similar to the custom of Halloween in the United States.

Indonesia

Eid-Al-Fitr is locally known as Lebaran in Indonesia and it is the most important holiday for Indonesians. Similar to other Muslim nations, Indonesians also celebrate with prayers, gatherings, and family reunions. One of the foremost traditions is Mudik (homecoming) where those who leave their hometowns to work in the big cities travel back to their places to spend Eid with their families. A ritual called the Halal Bihalal is also performed during or after Eid which involves seeking forgiveness from everyone including friends, colleagues, neighbors, and relatives.

Kids are gifted with colorful envelopes of money by their elders when they visit them. Most Indonesian Muslims wear cultural clothing on Eid day, differing for both men and women in style. Relatives also visit graves of their loved ones during the festival of Eid.

Malaysia

Eid in Malaysia is a joyous occasion like anywhere else, and most people travel to their hometowns to be with their families. People decorate their homes with oil lamps known as Pelita and cook traditional foods for Eid, including Ketupat or rice dumplings, and Rendang, a popular meat dish to honor guests in South East Asian countries.

Locally known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, meaning the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, it is a day when traditional dresses are worn by all.

Eid-Al-Fitr celebrations have always been like an open house in Malaysia, with everyone being welcomed in every home and an open door festive atmosphere that greet people to enjoy the meals and have a good time, without differentiating between them based on economic status old religion or caste. Families usually take turns in opening their homes to guests for the day.

Africa

African countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Somalia, South Africa, Nigeria, and several others, celebrate Eid in a similar fashion with prayers in the morning at the local mosques before the grand family get-together, where local food items play a dominant role.

In Morocco, traditional dresses are worn by men and women, and Moroccan pancakes are a breakfast staple, along with their famous mint tea, while in Somalia, Halvo is the dessert of the day.

In Mombasa, Muslims mark the last ten days of Ramadan (known as Kumi la mwisho) with street festivals and socialising. The festival, which is open in the evening when the daily fast ends, offers people a chance to buy presents for friends and family. Storytellers also roam the streets in some places during Eid, entertaining kids with folktales.

Iceland

Leading up to the celebration of Eid-Al- Fitr, Muslims in Iceland also parttake in the dusk-to-dawn fast during Ramadan. In the peak of summer, the sun remains up in the sky for a longer time than usual, the sun setting at midnight and returning two hours later. This means that Muslims living in Iceland are required to fast up to 22 hours a day.

While this sounds like a very challenging feat, Islamic scholars and experts have offered an alternative to those who live in the land of the midnight sun. Icelandic Muslims can choose to break their fast based on the timings of sunrise and sunset from the nearest country or observe Saudi Arabia’s timezone.

The auspicious day is celebrated in one of the few mosques in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Guests who visit the mosque come armed with an international buffet of mouth-watering foods, including foods from Indonesian, Egyptian and Eritrean cuisines to celebrate this holy and joyous occasion. Much to the delight of the children, the little ones wear their best clothes and exchange gifts with fellow friends and family members.

The whole idea of ​​the festival is that whoever you meet, you try and create a feeling of goodwill with them. Any feeling of animosity is put aside, at least for one day. While there are lots of things that everyone will do on Eid, with approximately 2 billion Muslims across the globe, it’s not surprising that people can have some different ways of celebrating this holy festival.

GCC
The festival of breaking the fast or Eid Al Fitr is widely celebrated across the GCC nations. Extended families and relatives gather together for the Eid prayers followed by a hearty meal that everyone prefers to have together. Muslims are also seen flocking to the mosques to offer their prayers and shopping malls are usually bustling with people buying new clothes and great food.

Giving gifts known as Eidi, especially to children, is also an important part of the celebration here. Visiting grandparents in the morning is an important part of the cultural celebrations and all the children and grandchildren who meet have dates, fruits, and breakfast together before parting ways.

The Subcontinent
In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, Eid is a very colorful affair. Women of the house usually get busy the previous day with preparing of all kinds of food such as sewaiyyah or laccha and sweets such as vermicelli noodles, followed by a trip to the malls and parlor where they apply henna on their hands. They visit friends and relatives and greet one another and exchange gifts. It is also customary to go to the mosque and offer prayers.

In some parts it is also mandatory to give charity in cash or kind to the poor. People are also seen gathering in large open grounds to feast together or just meet and exchange warm greetings after the Eid prayers

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