Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important religious events for Muslims. It marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting that Muslims across the world undertake. Known as the Lesser Eid, it begins the month of Shawwal, which follows the Holy Month of Ramadan. The Greater Eid is the Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Ibrahim’s sacrifice to Allah (PBUH).
In most cultures, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for three days, and begins at sunset on the first sighting of the crescent moon. If, for any reason such as cloud cover, the moon is not sighted on the 29th day of Ramadan, Eid is then celebrated on the next day.
As IKEA has just unveiled a collection of Middle-East-inspired products for Ramadan, we asked their team for information about how this festival is celebrated in different regions.
Muslims start Eid in the UAE by waking up early, performing a ritualistic cleaning of their body before wearing new clothes and offering their morning prayers.
Women usually decorate their hands with henna. They perform Zakat, one of the pillars of Islam, by giving alms to the poor and needy, before proceeding to offer Eid prayers – usually offered in groups at the mosque.
The rest of the day is given over to meeting family and friends, and organising a feast with lots of sumptuous dishes.
People celebrate Eid in the Kingdom by decorating their homes and gathering around for delicious meals with family and friends.
After donning new clothes and footwear, Muslims proceed to the mosque to attend the Eid prayers.
Later, people gather at the house of their family head for the festivities. Young children line up to greet their elders who gift them their Eidi.
With a pre-dominantly Muslim population (97%), Eid in Sudan is almost a week-long affair with preparations beginning in the last few days of Ramadan.
The entire family gets together to clean and decorate their house. Sugar-coated cookies, ‘ka’ak’, baked goodies such as meringues and macaroons, ‘bettifour’, and popcorn are prepared in large quantities to serve visitors gathered around the dining table.
Usually, the boys and men attend prayers at the mosque, followed by visiting family and friends. Children are gifted Eidi by their elders.
In these neighbouring countries, celebrations are almost similar. In the belief that all Muslims should be able to partake joyfully in the festivities, Zakat is usually performed before the day itself, or at least before Eid prayers.
This is followed by enjoying special dishes – such as Biryani and Sheer Khurma, which is a dessert of vermicelli, milk, butter, dry fruits, and dates – with family and friends. Children are also gifted Eidi.
Here’s wishing you all a blessed Eid Al-Fitr!