IRamazan has left us but not without the hope of a day full of hugs, love, greetings, feasts, blessings and compassion. With shutter down of almost every business, people open up their hearts. The roads of even busiest of cities become empty in the morning announcing that people have returned to their real homes, their villages. Students from far flung areas with bags on their backs and hope in eyes turn their faces towards means of reaching homelands. Bus stands, railway stations and airports become busier than ever. But everybody makes sure that they go through all the hustle before the big day, the Eid day.
Eidul Fitr is loved by every Muslim. Everybody gives their hundred percent from head to toe to look good on this day. People restore and revive lots of relations which they keep losing because of rapid pace of their lives. Right in Ramazan, it is a gift from God in which people rejoice their own efforts. While the theme remains constant, interpretation of celebrating this auspicious occasion varies across the world. Let’s have a visit around the globe and share the different experiences.
At this Eid, 9 holidays have been declared already for public sector employs in U.A.E. Amount of holidays show the enthusiasm among the inhabitants. In Dubai, Eid-ul-Fitr consists of a number of various activities for the entire family. These include the Eid Fireworks, Layali Dubai which will bring some of Arab finest musicians together for four days of fantastic performances. The celebrations also include “Dubai Sports World”, the world famous “Cirque Eloize iD”, “Dubai Arabic Comedy Nights” and the highly anticipated “Arab Idol Tour event for kids”.
To have more insight, we will hear directly from Mrs. Erum Kermani, a Pakistani housewife living in U.A.E, “In last days of Ramazan before Chand Raat arrives, people start celebrating by staying up till Sehri and all the bazaars stay open. I have experience of Eid in two Gulf countries. One is Kuwait where we lived for 4 years. We had lot of Pakistani friends and celebrated Eid with full swing. Next place is UAE. But here in Al Ain there are not many Pakistanis and all my relatives are on holidays. So it will be a quiet Eid for us. The real celebration is in Dubai and it starts off like two weeks before the Chand Raat. As you know it’s a happening city, many hotels and restaurants will hold special dinners specifically for July 27th. The celebration will be centered mostly in malls due to hot weather, whereby malls will have parades and entertainers from all over the world. Camping in the desert is another attraction during Eid holidays. The Emiratis are culture-oriented and take pride in their traditions. They celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr also known as “Bayram (Arabic) at their ancestral home and participate in lot of charity. But there is no place like Pakistan, when it comes to celebrating Eid with your own people”.
In Canada, cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal organize big parties at various community centers and people participate and donate funds and also make the food bank. Muslims living in the rural areas organise programmes in the mosques or in community centres. The Muslim Association of Canada holds a mass Eid festival at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto each year. Eid features carnival and pony rides and basketball and soccer games. Many Muslims visit one another's homes on the Eid or the days following to attend assigned "open houses" in which everybody is welcome to visit. Muslims also contribute to their local food banks or donate money on this day for those who are not so fortunate. Mrs. Sadia Siddiqi, a Canadian resident contributes, “They have many Eid bazaars and stalls on weekends almost two weeks before Eid. Many places have Henna stalls as well. It isn't cheap either, at least $20 dollars (5 for each side of your hand). We usually go for Eid Prayers. Then we get together at someone's house (on rotation), we eat breakfast together and lunch”. Mr. Saifullah adds further, “In Toronto, we go to Gerald Street to have feel of Pakistan, few shops and restaurants that offer Pakistani pretence makes you feel at home”.
Although Eidul Fitr is not considered to be a public holiday in the United Kingdom, many Muslims do attend the prayer in the morning. Local businesses and schools often grant exemptions to the Muslim community because of this holiday, enabling them to take days off, in large ethnically Muslim areas.
Men may go to a local cemetery to pay their respects to the departed souls. Once they return home they will congratulate friends, family and other Muslims and pay a visit to relatives across the city. They cook cultural food and sweets for their relatives. Pakistani dishes such as Handesh, Noonor Bora, and Fulab and Bengali dishes such as samosas, Siweya, Rice are especially popular within those communities. Tazeen Nudrat from London says, “In last 16 years Eid has become less boring in London. Now we have Chaand Raat in Muslim majority areas. The girls have mehndi stalls and boys do bhangra”.
Mrs. Kishwar from Australia has contributed as well, “End of Ramadan is marked when the crescent is sighted. In some cities Chand Raat is celebrated ahead of Eid. Chand Raat Eid Festival Incorporated (a non-profit organisation) organises the biggest multicultural events in celebration of Ramazan and Eid festivities. The Festival presents an exuberant cultural display of multicultural Australia and bringing the diverse community together to share their joys, happiness and friendship. It captures the optimistic spirit of the Eid Eve Celebrations, creating a unique and welcoming occasion for the families every year. It is an open event for everyone without any religious or cultural boundaries.
CREF celebrates end of Ramazan and Eidul Fitr festivities, engaging with multicultural communities and broad Australians across New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne).
Muslims across Australia fill mosques and public spaces to mark the end of the holy month of Ramazan. Roads around the mosque are blocked off to allow the congregation to fill the area.
In the United States, most Muslims offer the Eid prayer in Islamic centres, open parks or convention halls. Muslims from different cultures with multi-national customs gather for celebrations and prayers. Prayers are practiced multiple times to accommodate the large number of attendees in some cities. Muslims generally visit one another’s homes on Eid or hold large feasts in community halls or mosques. Mosques, sometimes, rent parks for Muslims to pray in.
Mrs. Hina Wasim shares her experience of Alabama “let me tell you a little about my Ramazan and Eid in Alabama, USA. During Ramazan the mosque Committee at the Islamic Center allocated different days between groups of Muslim families. So everyday a set of people arranged Iftars for everyone who wanted to come and eat. It was basically for the Muslim students but everyone came and ate there. After that Tarawies used to be prayed. This was my first experience of saying Tarawies in a congregation. On Eid day everyone brought something to eat for the Muslim Students and then we said the Eid Prayers. After that we started visiting different people's houses in group form. We went from house to house to taste each family's delicacies. The Arabs served Baklava Feta triangles, the Hyderabadi Indians served bhail puris and pani puris, the Turkish families served Kebabs and vegetable rolls, the Pakistanis served Sheer Khurma and shami Kababs. The some of the men had to go to work so they left after lunch.
In Malaysia Eidul Fitr is referred as Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Hari Raya Puasa and Selamat Hari Raya mean Happy Eid. In Malaysia Muslims also greet one another with mohon maaf lahir dan batin which means "Forgive my wrongdoings, both emotional and physical". Moreover, they also decorate by lighting traditional bamboo cannon firecrackers known as meriam bambu. In Turkey, Happy Bayram means Happy Eid. It is of utmost importance to honour elderly citizens by kissing their right hand and placing it on one's forehead all the while giving the bayram greetings. In South Africa they serve xalwo(halwa) as a special dish. Hundreds of Muslims will gather at Green Point in Cape Town in the evening of the concluding day of Ramazan each year for sight of the moon. In Nigeria, Eid is commonly known as "Small Sallah" and people generally greet one another with the customary greeting: Barka Da Sallah, meaning "Greetings on Sallah" in the Hausa language.
The diversity of customs across the world signifies the richness of Islamic culture. May these thousand colours of Eid help people to come closer and create a bond for betterment of humanity.n