With the holy month of Ramadan coming to an end, a big celebration in underway. Here’s your guide to Eid al Fitr.
Even though the exact day of Eid is still unknown – it starts with the sighting of the new moon -, the Emiri Diwan has announced that Eid al Fitr holiday will start on Sunday, June 25. This time of year, Muslim communities all over the world come together to celebrate the end of Ramadan and fasting through 3 days of celebrations known as Eid al Fitr (feast of breaking of the fast).
This is an important time for any Muslim, both the devoted and those who loosely affiliate themselves with Islam. It is the Muslim version of Christmas. Houses and streets are decorated, gifts are given out to children and friends, families gather over food and sweets, and every corner is lit with festivities.
When it comes to Eid in Qatar, the Qataris follow a series of centuries old traditions – some dating back to the earliest days of Islam.
The holiday atmosphere starts days before the actual Eid. You will notice that streets and houses are being decorated, people are flooding malls and markets to stock up on sweets and foods, and to buy new clothes, and venues start preparations for the big the feast.
On the first day of Eid, Muslims start their day by showering, getting groomed and putting on new clothes before heading to Salat el Eid, the holiday prayer. This is also when Muslims are expected to give zakat, alms, which is then divided throughout the communities less fortunate members.
But for the children, the day has a whole different level of excitement. They dress up in the new outfits they bought just for the day, and go around the neighborhood spreading Eid joy to their neighbors, friends and family. What gives children the motivation to go around and knock on doors you think? The answer is simple, gifts, sweets and money.
Later on during the day, family members usually gather at the household of the oldest member of the family. Usually a grandfather, father or eldest brother. There the whole family come together over a big (late) lunch, followed by traditional sweets and beverages.
During the latter two day of Eid, it is the time to visit other family members and friends, and to do family activities and outings.
In Qatar, it is hard to find a mall, market, hotel or place of entertainment that is not celebrating with a special program.
Starting Sunday, June 25, all government and public offices will be closed in celebration for 11 days, opening again on Tuesday, July 4. Private businesses usually give between 3 to 7 days off for the holiday, and with Eid (most likely) landing on a Sunday this year, that means that most people will get a 5-days vacation at least.