Eid al-Fitr, also known as the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, is celebrated by Muslims all over the world, although the rituals differ from country to country. Let’s explore the various Eid traditions around all over the world, including our own!
Eid al-Fitr signifies the conclusion of a month of dawn-to-sunset fasting and spiritual reflection and prayer. Typically, the day begins with prayers and the main event is a large meal with family, but there are many other ways that people celebrate. Different regions, nations, and households may celebrate differently. For example, countries in South-East Asia and the Middle East have slightly distinct Eid traditions.
Eid is one of the most desired holidays of the Islamic calendar because Muslims have so many plans for these days. As Bangladesh is a predominantly a Muslim nation, the joy and celebration of Eid are shared with every resident, regardless of their religion.
In our country, preparations for Eid begin well in advance of the holiday, as everyone shops new clothes, shoes, etc. for themselves, family, and friends based on their budget keeping this special occasion in mind. A big part of city-living return to their roots, to their home districts and to their family. They return home to celebrate Eid with family, relatives, friends, and neighbors they haven’t seen in weeks or months. The night before Eid brings suspense, just like it did Today! This night is known as “Chand Raat” and marks the beginning of the festival.
Men wear Panjabi-Payjama and religious fragrances called “atar” to the Eid prayer after bathing on Eid morning. After the prayer, everyone exchanges formal greetings, which continue throughout the day! The younger’s demand for “salami” from the elder is a significant part of their Eid joy. On Eid days, specific dishes are prepared in almost every household and everyone visits their relatives donning new clothes. During Eid, many enjoy the empty streets, which are normally congested with traffic.
Eid rituals in UAE
The majority of local Emiratis celebrate Eid by eating traditional food and spending time with family, but there are additional UAE-specific customs. As a tradition handed down through the generations, many families display an array of rainbow-colored rugs and banners outside their homes. For those who do not have family but still wish to celebrate this joyous festival as a community, parks and arenas are also decorated with festival flags and at night, there are fireworks in the sky. The decoration of women’s and girls’ hands with henna, which symbolizes healing, attractiveness, and celebration, is a tradition that originated in the United Arab Emirates that has gained worldwide popularity.
Eid rituals in Turkey
In Turkey, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated with a three-day holiday that is filled with color, festivals, and cuisine. The celebration is also known as Ramazan Bayrami (Ramadan festival) or Seker Bayrami (sugar festival), and sweets, baklava, and Turkish delicacies are served throughout the festivities. People wear new clothes, known as bayramlik, and exchange the greeting Bayraminiz Mubarek Olsun, which translates to “May your Bayram (Eid) be blessed.” It is a public holiday, during which government offices and institutions are typically closed for the duration of the three-day celebrations.
The honoring of elders is a tradition that is respected throughout Turkey. Kissing the right hand of an elderly relative or friends and placing it on one’s forehead while exchanging Bayram greetings is the highest form of respect. Young children are encouraged to visit the homes of neighbors, wishing them a “Happy Bayram,” and in exchange are often given candies, traditional sweets like baklava and Turkish Delight, chocolates, or even a small amount of money.
Eid rituals in Indonesia
In Indonesia, Eid-ul-Fitr is known locally as Lebaran, and it is the most significant holiday. Indonesians celebrate with prayers, gatherings, and family reunions, similar to other Muslim nations.
One of the most important traditions is Mudik (homecoming), in which those who have left their hometowns to work in large cities return to spend Eid with their families. During or after Eid, a ritual known as Halal Bihalal is performed in which everyone, including friends, colleagues, and neighbors, is asked for forgiveness. When visiting their parents, children are presented with colorful envelopes containing cash. On Eid, the majority of Indonesian Muslims wear traditional attire, which differs for men and women. During Eid, relatives also visit the graves of their departed loved ones.
Eid rituals in Malaysia
Eid is a festive occasion in Malaysia, and the majority of people travel to their hometowns to be with their families. People decorate their homes with oil lamps known as Pelita and prepare traditional foods for Eid, such as Ketupat or rice dumplings and Rendang, a popular South East Asian meat dish served to honor visitors. Locally known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which means the commemoration of Eid-ul-Fitr, it is a day in which everyone wears traditional attire.
In Malaysia, Eid-ul-Fitr festivities have always resembled an open house, with everyone being welcomed in every household and an open-door festive atmosphere that welcomes people to enjoy the meals and have a good time, regardless of their socioeconomic standing, religion, or caste. Families typically take turns opening their homes to day guests.
On this day, Muslims pray, celebrate, and ask one another’s forgiveness, while children receive tiny monetary gifts from their elders called Duit Raya — their equivalent of Eidi.
Eid rituals in Africa
Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Somalia, South Africa, Nigeria, and a few other African countries all mark Eid in the same way. The day starts with prayers at the local mosques, followed by a big family gathering where local foods take center stage.
In Morocco, men and women wear traditional attire, and Moroccan pancakes are a breakfast staple, along with their famous mint tea, whereas in Somalia, Halvo is the daily delicacy.
Muslims in Mombasa, Kenya observes the final ten days of Ramadan, known as Kumi la mwisho, with street festivals and socializing. The festival, which opens in the evening when the daily fast concludes, gives people the opportunity to purchase gifts for their loved ones. In some locations, storytellers roam the streets during Eid, enthralling children with folktales.
Eid is a festive occasion that is celebrated with family and friends. Following a month of fasting, a celebration of this nature with family and friends is a reminder and expression of striving to be a better person in all aspects (health, spiritual, belief, and faith).
The nations’ traditions may differ marginally, but the underlying concept is the same. Therefore, regardless of your location, celebrate Eid with your loved ones.
Eid Mubarak to you all! Eid in Arabic means “feast, festival, holiday,” and Mubarak means “blessed or happy”.