Monday, September 21, 2009
Eid al-Fitr: "Festival of Fast Breaking"
My last post was on the Muslims' holy month of Ramadan, when they fast from sunrise to sunset as a time of spiritual renewal. Well, that month is now over, and Muslims celebrate what is called "Eid al-Fitr" which means "Festival of Fast Breaking". During the last few days of Ramadan, Muslims give to the poor what is usually a donation of food--rice, barley, dates, etc.--to make sure the needy have food and can actually celebrate at this time.
Families usually gather on the first morning of the Eid (festival)outdoors or at mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a congregational prayer.
After this, they gather together as families and friends, give gifts, especially to the children, and make phone calls to distant relatives. This Eid lasts three days and in most Muslim countries is an official government holiday.
While things are getting back to normal after Ramadan, they won't be back to normal till after the Eid. Because this is a three day holiday, schools are out and lots of people are on holiday. During this time, people are out everywhere and during all hours of the night. It is celebrated with loud fireworks as well which make for a difficult night of sleeping. While this can be a difficult night for those of us who are not "night-owls" and need our 8 hours of beauty sleep, I know it is a special time for the people here.