Some Eid celebrations differ in different countries, but there are similar rituals and traditions which mark the festive occasion.
We take a look at the many ways the festival of breaking the fast is appreciated and celebrated around the globe:
Brooklyn, New York City
New York is home to over 700,000 Muslims in the United States and just like Eid festivities around the world that include prayer, parades, and games in the streets, it’s the same scenario for New Yorkers. Typically, mosques in all five boroughs will host the morning Eid al-Fitr prayers. Brooklyn’s Masjid At-Taqwa does the same for Muslims, as pictured here. Masjid At-Taqwa isn’t just a place of worship. They are well invested in their community and in the late 1980s, the mosque’s impressive anti-drug street patrol led to the shutting down of over 15 drug houses in the area. Due to the small space of the mosque, Eid prayers are literally taken to the streets. Prayer mats are laid for the hundreds of Muslims to perform their religious duties before celebrations get underway.
In 2019, the Green Zone in Baghdad, the high-security region of the capital that houses embassies and the parliament building was fully opened to the public for the first time. As Iraq prepared to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced that the heavily fortified 10-square-km district of the capital, established after the 2003 US-led invasion, would be accessible 24 hours. On the first morning of Eid, men pray in mosques wearing their new clothes and exchange best wishes with each other. Children receive eidia which is a small amount of money to buy whatever they wish during Eid. They also have their own tradition, which involves knocking on neighbours’ doors asking for dessert and wishing them Eid Mubarak.
Since the 1930s, the Malay-Muslim villagers of Kampung Talang in Perak have been preserving a unique tradition that is celebrated yearly at the beginning of Eid. The festive occasion has been greeted by the firing of homemade cannons. Several sites facing a paddy field are commonly prepared with dozens of steel pipes repurposed as home-made howitzers aimed skywards as men stand by with flaming torches. The pipes are stuffed with a bubbling mixture of calcium carbide and water. A leader will signal order and then torches touch a small opening to ignite the mixture which blasts into the air. Steel pipes weren’t always used as cannons. Back then it was made of bamboo with the purpose of scaring wild animals away so that the villagers can celebrate Aidilfitri safely. There are usually more than 80 cannons combined to mark the festive occasion and thousands of spectators participate in this yearly tradition.
After the isyak prayer on the eve of Eid, the sound of takbir (praise to Allah) echoes from various parts of Banda Aceh. Communities gather for the traditional obor (torch) parade that signifies the arrival of Eid al-Fitri. Children in droves walk with torches in their hands, and cars and other forms of vehicles are heavily decorated with ornaments and mimic huge parade floats. The parade participants consist of groups representing each village, government agencies and community organisations included. Each group will come up with a beautifully decorated car equipped with good lighting, a sound system and beduk (a large drum suspended horizontally at the mosque to summon people to prayer). Then the group will proceed with reciting the takbir according to their own rhythm. The best display of both vehicle and recital will be crowned the winner.
New Delhi, India
Thousands of Muslims flock to the Fatehpuri Masjid, Masjid Jamia Millia Islamia, Masjid Faiz-e-Ilahi and even to the ruins of Feroz Shah Kotla to perform Eid prayers before starting their celebrations. A fort protecting the city of Firozabad, Feroz Shah Kotla was once the gem of the Sultan, Feroz Shah Tughlaq. Within the fort lies Jami Masjid, one of the most ancient and largest surviving mosques and monuments still in use. It is surrounded by a large courtyard with cloisters and a prayer hall. The hall, which is now in complete ruins, was once used by the royal ladies. The mosque is a fine example of Tughlaq architecture. Eid celebration in India extends to a fiesta of three days, which is called Choti Eid.
Eid al-Fitr is one of the two main Muslim religious festivals in Bangladesh. Eid congregations are usually held in an eidgah (a special field), mosques and open spaces across the country. The biggest congregation of the country is held at Sholakia in Kishoreganj, where about half a million Muslims join the Eid prayers. After prayers, everyone embraces one another and it continues the whole day as people meet friends and families. Upon returning home, celebrations with families ensue. Children salam their elders by touching their legs. They are then given a token of small amounts of money called eidi or salami. The dish of the day is called semai, a special noodle-like delicacy that’s cooked with milk, sugar and coconut.