Eid al-Fitr brings fam­ily cel­e­bra­tions, somber tra­di­tions

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - LEBANON - By Mo­hammed Zaatari

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.

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