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How Eid is celebrated around the world!

Eid Al Fitr is a global celebration that takes place each year to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It’s a joyous time of year that is known as the festival of fast-breaking. Eid is usually focused on expressing gratitude, promoting unity, and gathering with loved ones. The customs and traditions of Eid Al Fitr vary greatly from country to country. Muslims around the world eagerly await the verdict of the moon sighting committees as the end of Ramadan approaches to determine whether or not the new crescent moon has been spotted on the 28th or 29th day of Ramadan. If the moon is sighted, then Ramadan has come to an end and the month of Shawwal begins. However, due to the varying results of these moon sightings, some countries may observe Eid Al Fitr on a different day than others.

This year, the people of Malaysia will kick off their Eid Al Fitr or Hari Raya celebration on April 22nd 2023!

How is Eid Al Fitr celebrated?

While some countries celebrate Eid Al Fitr in one day, others extend the festivities over a period of three days. Nonetheless, there are some common practices that unite Muslims around the world during this special occasion. Here are some of them:

Prayers

How do people celebrate the important and joyous occasion of Eid Al Fitr? One of the most significant practices is the Eid morning prayer, typically held just after dawn in a communal and public space, such as a mosque or park. Attending the prayer is considered a must for all those who are physically able to complete it. It is also often to wear new clothes to the prayer, symbolising a fresh start and a new beginning. The Eid prayer does not have a call to prayer and is followed by a sermon where religious leaders offer guidance and words of wisdom to the congregation. One of the highlights of the Eid prayer is the opportunity to greet others who have gathered to pray, and wish them an “Eid Mubarak”, which means “Blessed Eid”.

Traditionally, after the prayer, families and friends would gather together for a big breakfast at home. However, in some parts of the world, it is common for people to celebrate the occasion by visiting each other’s homes and exchanging gifts and sweets. As the world becomes more interconnected, people from different cultures and backgrounds also incorporate their own unique customs and traditions into their celebrations, making the festival all the more vibrant and diverse.

Spending time with Family

Spending time with family is one of the most important aspects of Eid Al Fitr celebrations. Hari Raya is the perfect opportunity to ‘balik kampung’ or go back to one’s hometown to reconnect with loved ones and strengthen family bonds. Gathering with family is a common theme that is cherished by Muslims across the globe despite different customs and traditions. In many cultures, it’s also a time to forgive and forget past grievances, rekindle old relationships, and start afresh. The holiday is usually observed for one to three days and is a time of joy, merriment, and love.

For many, Eid Al Fitr is a time to travel back to their hometowns or visit extended family members. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives come together for a festive reunion. In addition to the traditional customs, families may also enjoy modern activities together. Going to the movies, visiting amusement parks, and attending concerts are popular options. Some families organize sports tournaments or games, and others prefer to spend time outdoors. Whether it’s a picnic in the park or a day at the beach, families cherish the moments they spend together during Eid Al Fitr.

Feasts and Treats

People prepare traditional dishes, from sweet treats to savory dishes to mark the celebration of Eid. Different cultures around the world have their own unique Eid foods that are a must-have during the festivities.

In Malaysia and Singapore, “ketupat”, a type of rice cake wrapped in woven palm leaves and boiled until cooked, is a popular dish served during Eid Al Fitr. Another popular dish is “rendang,” a spicy meat dish made with coconut milk and a blend of spices. Malaysians also enjoy “lemang,” a sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes over an open fire. In Indonesia, “lapis legit” or “spekkoek,” a layered cake made with spices and butter, is a must-have on the Eid table. “Opor ayam,” a chicken curry made with coconut milk, is another popular dish. Indonesians also enjoy “kolak,” a dessert made with bananas and sweet potatoes cooked in coconut milk and palm sugar.

In Pakistan and India, the traditional Eid Al Fitr meal starts with a sweet vermicelli pudding called “sheer khurma,” made with milk, dates, nuts, and vermicelli noodles. Another popular dish is “biryani,” a flavorful rice dish cooked with spices and meat or vegetables. Families also enjoy “kebabs,” grilled meat or vegetable skewers, and “naan,” a type of flatbread.

Whether it’s savory or sweet, traditional Eid foods are an integral part of the celebrations. They bring families and communities together and create a sense of togetherness and joy. So, if you’re celebrating Eid Al Fitr, don’t forget to indulge in your favorite traditional dishes and sweet treats, and share them with your loved ones!

Gifts

The excitement of Eid Al Fitr can be felt everywhere, as families exchange gifts, sing songs, and share stories. Children are especially excited as they receive Duit Raya, money given to them by elders as a token of love and appreciation. Normally, adults prepare a small pile of cash as a gift for children during Eid, called Duit Raya in Malaysia– Eid money.

Zakat Al Fitr

The true spirit of this celebration lies in the act of giving back to those in need. This is where zakat comes in – a fundamental practice that is deeply rooted in Islam. It is one of the five pillars of the religion and represents a duty for every Muslim who has the means to give to charity during Ramadan. Zakat Al Fitr is a form of donation that can be given on any day during Ramadan or up until the morning of Eid Al Fitr. It is a sustained payment that is calculated based on a percentage of the payer’s income, similar to a tax. This consistent giving is what sets zakat apart from sporadic donations to charity.

It is important to note that zakat is mandatory for all adult Muslims who earn a minimum amount of money each year, known as nisab. The nisab threshold varies based on current prices and currencies. Those eligible to pay zakat must give 2.5 per cent of their cumulative wealth to charity each year. Zakat can also be given in the form of food or other essential items. This helps ensure that everyone in the community has access to basic necessities during the celebration. Zakat is a way to show compassion and generosity towards others, especially those who may be less fortunate.

Eid Mubarak!

All in all, Eid Al Fitr is a joyous occasion celebrated by Muslims around the world to mark the end of Ramadan. While there are different customs and traditions followed across various regions, the essence of the holiday remains the same – spending time with loved ones, reflecting on blessings, and giving to those in need. From feasting on traditional foods to wearing new clothes and participating in modern activities, Eid Al Fitr is a time of joy, merriment, and love. Regardless of where it is celebrated, the holiday serves as a reminder of the importance of family, community, and charity.

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