After thirty days of fasting and prayers, Muslims in Lebanon and around the world has recently broken their fasting celebrating Eid El-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
For those of you who might not know, Ramadan is considered the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (from dawn to sunset), prayer, reflection, and community.
Eid El-Fitr is expected to be announced depending on the sighting of the new moon. Once the new moon is visible, the Eid is announced and thus a public holiday is declared, where general population, educational institutions, and most businesses close for 2-3 days.
This religious holiday calls and encourages Muslims to give thanks to Allah, to forgive and forget, and to give charity to poor families, the Zakat El-Fitr, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
In Lebanon and most countries, the Eid starts early morning as Muslims gather at mosques, plazas or outdoor squares to perform prayers, followed by a short sermon. During their gathering, Muslims recite takbeerat, praising God by saying “Allahu Akbar”, meaning God is great.
Afterward, Muslims traditionally visit the graves of their family members, clean the gravesite and offer D’uaa (prayers) to Allah for forgiveness and also pray that their loved ones’ souls rest in peace.
After heading home from the graves, family members gather for breakfast and congratulate each other with different popular greetings like Fitr Sa’id (Happy Fitr). Kol ‘am wa antum bekhair (I wish you goodness every year), Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid), and many more.
Normally, Knefeh, which is a traditional dessert made with sweetened melty cheese and covered with sugar syrup Qatar, is commonly served as a breakfast on the Eid mornings.
Later on, families spend the day with relatives and neighbors, eating delicious food and desserts while the kids play around with new clothes and are given gifts Eidiyah from elders and parents. Eidiyah is a popular social tradition for Muslims in Eids where money is given to the family kids as a gift to celebrate the joyous occasion.
Traditional Eid food and desserts are a must during Eid El-Fitr in Lebanon. Some of the desserts that are prepared for the occasion are the Kaak el Eid and the Maamoul, which is a mouthwatering cookie stuffed with pistachios, or walnuts, or dates, and covered with powdered sugar.
These sweet treats are prepared for the family to enjoy them and also to be served to guests who visit during the Eid.
Other than the mouthwatering desserts, festive meals are served for lunch. As families gather around the lunch table, traditional Lebanese festive meals such as Mouloukhiye, Moughrabiye, Rezz aa Djeij are commonly served.
After gathering with families and eating those delicious festive meals and mouthwatering desserts, families go out to enjoy the Eid vibes and celebrate in the open air during the second and third day.