Experience Eid al-Fitr Across These Seven Countries
Millions of Muslims across the world will soon celebrate Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan. Celebrations vary from one country to another.
If you’re looking to experience the last few days of Ramadan and welcome Eid al-Fitr in a different setting, Agoda, one of the world’s fastest-growing online travel agents has shared seven ways in seven countries travellers can experience the festive season.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Where to go / What to do: Eid Festival 2019, feast on goodies from Middle Eastern eateries at London’s multicultural Edgware Road
Although Eid al-Fitr isn’t a public holiday in London, the celebration is still a big affair for many Muslims there. The day starts with prayer in the morning, followed by visiting or hosting family and friends over traditional meals. Travellers can partake in the festivities at the annual Eid Festival at Trafalgar Square, where they can enjoy an afternoon of exciting performances, fun for the family and of course, food from different countries!
NEW YORK, AMERICA
Where to go / What to do: Empire State Building Tower Light-up, Islamic Cultural Center, Museum of the City of New York
There is much to do in New York to mark the end of Ramadan – Start your day visiting New York’s largest mosque, the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, where services are held throughout the day. Families can carry on to the Museum of the City of New York and get to know Muslim cultural traditions through local artists and art collections, or get a fun henna tattoo for the kids. Keep a lookout for the Empire State Building at night, which is typically lit green to celebrate Eid al-Fitr during the season.
Where to go / What to do: Bring a picnic basket of sweets and goodies to break fast with the crowds between The Hagia Sophia and iconic Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square
If you’re lucky, during the month leading up to Eid al-Fitr, you might spot Ramadan drummers performing at the break of dawn along the streets as they wake residents up for suhoor, the last meal before a day of fasting.
After the month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr is also known as ‘Seker Bayram’ or Candy Festival in Turkey, as celebrations will feature several rounds of sugary sweet treats such as baklava. In fact, people are encouraged to have sweets for breakfast! Get your Turkish delight as you celebrate like a local.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Where to go / What to do: Iftar at Dubai Opera, special activities at IMG Worlds of Adventures
The Emiratis treasure time spent with loved ones during Eid, especially over sumptuous food. In the lead up to Eid, join other Muslim families for Iftar, the breaking of fast at sunset, with a visit to the Dubai Opera for a unique experience combining exquisite Arabic cuisine and live music.
Family and friends can also enjoy a thrilling time at one of the world’s largest indoor theme parks, IMG Worlds of Adventures, where it will be decorated in a traditional Arabic theme and offer special activities just for the season.
Where to go / What to do: Sail along the famous Dal Lake and stop at Hazratbal Mosque, before feasting at Lal Chowk food street
The biggest congregation of Eid prayer gatherings Srinagar is typically at the Hazratbal, the shrine said to house the holy relic of Prophet Muhammed. On the morning of Eid al-Fitr, something sweet is eaten for breakfast such as sheer kurma or seviyan (vermicelli pudding with milk, water and nuts), accompanied by kahwah, a local tea brewed from special green tea leaves and strands of Kashmiri saffron, garnished with dried fruits and nuts. Sample local cuisine including Kashmiri naan, kebabs, kahwah, noon chai (pink colour salty tea) and the likes along Lal Chowk, Kashmir’s famous food street.
Where to go / What to do: Annual Eid Festival, enjoy the festivities at the coastal area of Jeddah Corniche and Al Balad (Old town)
It is a Saudi Arabian custom for families to gather at the house of the eldest male in the family after the morning prayers on Eid al-Fitr. Prior to the special lunch being served, the children will present themselves in new clothes in front of the adults who will give them Eid money. Families then enjoy visiting the theatres, catching fireworks, or stage performances to continue the celebration.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
Where to go / What to do: Visit Iftar @ Kuala Lumpur at Dataran Merdeka and be surrounded by scenic views of the historical Sultan Abdul Samad Building and other colonial structures
While in some counties it is a fairly toned-down affair, in Malaysia the Hari Raya celebration calls for two days of public holidays and up to a month of festive celebrations. In fact, when Eid al-Fitr rolls around, the country typically experiences what some call ‘the great Hari Raya Exodus’, where millions of city folk make the annual pilgrimage back to their hometowns to be with loved ones for the festivities, a tradition is also known as ‘balik kampung’.
During this period, houses will be opened to guests and the endless feasting commences. So, if you’re lucky enough to score an invite, that’s certainly something not to be missed! In the lead up to Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr), be sure to check out Iftar @ Kuala Lumpur, a unique event where visitors are invited to end their daily Ramadan fast together at one of the busiest streets in the city. There will also be religious activities taking place that will give visitors a glimpse of the beauty of Islam.
Photos courtesy of Agoda.