Sunday, May 26, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr around the World

Beyond its religious significance, Eid is a cherished occasion where families, friends, and communities come together and celebrate

Update : 16 Apr 2024, 08:00 PM

Eid al-Fitr, the joyous festival that marks the end of the sacred month of Ramadan, is a highlight for Muslims in every corner of Earth. While its essence remains consistent everywhere – a time of spiritual fulfillment, self-reflection, and communal joy – the beauty of Eid lies in its diverse cultural traditions observed across the globe.

Eid in Asia

Traditions in Asia itself are extremely diverse. Starting with South Asia there are vibrant traditions and mouth-watering feasts. Last few days of Eid, a flurry of activity takes over bustling markets and shopping malls. As the celebratory bonfires illuminate the Afghan night sky, the sweet fragrance of Shemai mingles with the aroma of spices as Bangladeshi families stock up on ingredients for elaborate meals. All over South Asia, women adorn their hands with intricate henna designs while the last night of Tarawi prayers in the mosque occupy the men.

In Indonesia, Eid is known as Lebaran, and in Malaysia as Hari Raya. Families come together and seek forgiveness from elders. The eve of Eid is seen with Takbir chants, lighting lamps, and traditional meals. On the other hand, wearing Gold is very popular in Thailand while Cambodian and Vietnamese Muslims open their hearts and homes to friends and family with a customary tradition of donating rice to the underprivileged in Cambodia.

In the wealthy Gulf states like UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, families celebrate in style and generosity reigns. Homes are beautifully decorated with lights, and grand festive meals are shared. Moving eastward, Turkish kids go around and celebrate ‘Bayram’ with traditional sweets like Baklava and Turkish Delights while enjoying their Eidi.

Eid in Africa

Across Africa, Eid al-Fitr explodes in a kaleidoscope of celebrations. In Egypt, the spirit of Eid spills into public gardens after the Eid prayers. Tunisia’s celebrations are very sweet with the exchange of ka’ak and marzipan, which are basically like cookies and cakes.  Somalia’s Eid features a more traditional flair. There are elaborate banquets that brim with delectable “xalwo” (Somali Halwa) treats.

In Tanzania, traditions meet a touch of modernity where in the day, families enjoy meals and sweets and at night, the youth engage in celebratory dance. South Africa’s Eid traditions lean towards large gatherings with Muslims coming together for the sighting of the moon and prayers, Moroccans call Eid “Eid es-Seghir” where the spotlight is on traditional dishes like couscous with lamb or beef brochettes. Towards the North, Andalusian music, accompanied by claps and dances, is customary for Eid.

Eid in Europe

In Albania, people celebrate what is known as Bajrami i Madh with a Greek soup called Magiritsa. Over in Russia, Eid is called Uraza Bayram, where festive meals vary with the location. There are mutton dishes, as well as salads, soups, and Tatarstan pancakes made from unleavened batter of wheat flour.

In Ukraine, Eid is mostly celebrated by the ethnic Turk group called Crimean Tatars. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Eid is not officially recognized as a public holiday but Muslims take religious days off. The gatherings for Eid prayers in the mosques of Edinburgh are massive and spark a feeling of communal joy, a powerful display of community spirit.

Eid in America

Though Eid al-Fitr isn’t a public holiday in North America, the spirit of celebration still manages to shine. More and more schools allow students to take the day off and celebrate Eid with ease. Muslims gather in mosques across the continent for prayers and then spend the day with relatives for all the festivities. South America offers a different perspective as more of their countries embrace Eid al-Fitr as a public holiday, featuring special sweet treats like sawine/vermicelli alongside traditional curries and rotis.

Beyond its religious significance, Eid is a cherished occasion where families, friends, and communities come together and celebrate. What once solely belonged to the Muslim faith now extends its warmth to embrace people of different backgrounds, showing the inclusive spirit that transcends borders and beliefs.

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