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