Eid al-Fitr brings family celebrations, somber traditions
BEIRUT/SIDON: As the holy month of Ramadan drew to a close Thursday, Lebanese Muslims who had been fasting finalized preparations for Eid al-Fitr.
While most families and friends usually gather for sumptuous lunches on Eid, feasting to celebrate after the monthlong, dawn-to-dusk fast, events have also been organized for those interested in venturing out.
Right next to Beirut’s last big park, Horsh Beirut, street food market Souk El Akel will be holding a two-day event from Saturday, selling food and drinks at the newly inaugurated Hona Beirut cultural club.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian will be leading Eid prayers at the Mohammad al-Amine Mosque in Downtown Beirut at 6:15 p.m. Friday. Children and young adults will no doubt be eagerly awaiting Friday morning for the longtime tradition of receiving gifts and money from their elders. Many teenagers spend their money on fireworks and smaller firecrackers, while larger fireworks displays can also be expected across Lebanon.
On the eve of Eid, the markets of south Lebanon’s Sidon were bustling with shoppers buying clothes, shoes, sweets and jewelry.
Children are especially expected to be dressed in brand new attire for visiting family and friends.
Shopkeepers in the open-air market expressed satisfaction with sales, with Abdi Dimasi, the owner of an accessories and decorations store, saying, “The market is excellent.” The nearby owner of a toy store Mohammad Abou Chackra told The Daily Star that young girls, boys and their families were buying toy “weapons, tanks, machine guns and warplanes” as well as dolls.
Sweet shops that worked feverishly throughout Ramadan have switched gears and are now crafting traditional Eid sweets, including traditional baklava and maamoul, a
No doubt many will also be watching the World Cup Friday
crumbly dough usually filled with dates or pistachios. “We’re working day and night to make these sweets,” store owner Salman alQiblawi told The Daily Star.
In a slightly more somber tradition, many families will visit the graves of relatives to pay their respects. At the entrance to Sidon’s main cemetery, the air is full of the smell of bundles of herbs, lit by families at their deceased relatives’ gravesites. Ali told The Daily Star inside the cemetery that he had laid flowers on the grave of his grandfather, whom he said he had never met.
No doubt many will also be watching the World Cup Friday, with the Arab favorite Egypt playing Uruguay at 3 p.m. Beirut time.