The Ara­bian Gulf FES­TI­VAL MUST-SEE: EID AL-FITR

Asian Geographic - - West Asia -

Eid al-fitr trans­lates to “fes­ti­val of break­ing the fast” and takes place on the first day of the lu­nar month Shawwal, af­ter the fast­ing month of Ra­madan. It is the ma­jor event of the year in the Gulf coun­tries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia, and the United Arab Emi­rates – as well as in Jor­dan, Le­banon, Pales­tine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and other pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim states (and Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties glob­ally).

Both Eid al-fitr and the other ma­jor Is­lamic fes­ti­val, Eid al-adha (fes­ti­val of the sac­ri­fice), are times for Mus­lims to show their grat­i­tude to Al­lah, to give alms to the poor ( Zakat al-fitr, a re­quire­ment for ev­ery Mus­lim who has the means to do so) and to for­give and for­get the past wrongs. In Malay cul­ture, Eid goes by the name Hari Raya Aidil­fitri (also: Hari Raya Puasa) and Hari Raya Haji, re­spec­tively.

Eid al-fitr is cel­e­brated for up to three days. Early morn­ing pray­ers are fol­lowed by a sweet break­fast, lead­ing to Eid al-fitr’s nick­name as the “sweet hol­i­day”, with tra­di­tional foods in­clud­ing baklava, halwa, falooda, and of course, the tra­di­tional date. Break­fast is fol­lowed by salaat (the Eid prayer) at mosque.

It’s cus­tom­ary to buy new clothes for Eid. Many Mus­lim women dec­o­rate their hands with henna on the eve of Eid, and men don their best cologne. Adults also usu­ally give gifts to chil­dren, and fam­i­lies visit their neigh­bours and rel­a­tives, when gifts are of­ten ex­changed. If you are in the Gulf dur­ing Eid, there are plenty of fes­tive fairs and events to at­tend.

In 2018, June 14 (Eid al-fitr) and Au­gust 21 (Eid al-adha); Eid is de­ter­mined by the moon, so these dates are es­ti­mates

Eid is cel­e­brated in Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties all over the world

You may want to avoid book­ing your trip dur­ing Ra­madan, as in the Gulf states, many at­trac­tions are closed, and eat­ing and drink­ing in pub­lic is for­bid­den – even for nonMus­lims. How­ever, the time of break­ing fast – If­tar – is some­thing of a “mini Eid” as fam­i­lies gather for evening fes­tiv­i­ties af­ter sun­set

• Do ac­quaint your­self with the hol­i­day phrases. The Ara­bic greet­ing is Eid Mubarak (“Blessed Eid”); other coun­tries have their own greet­ings in the lo­cal lan­guage • Don’t hold back on the de­li­cious feasts –

it is for­bid­den to fast on the day of Eid Kuwait

Bahrain Saudi Ara­bia

THE ARA­BIAN GULF

Oman UAE

WHEN WHERE HOW DOS AND DON’TS

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