FROM NEW OUTFITS TO SWEET TREATS, EXPLORING THE CELEBRATION’S TRADITIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
EID IS IN THE AIR
By Aya Nassar
Get ready for a lot of festivities and some sparkle in your life as Eid celebrations are just around the corner!
With vibrant new outfits, mouth-watering delicacies, and heartwarming traditions, this occasion is a wholesome one all over the world. As countries add their unique flavors to the mix, the Eid celebrations have something for everyone at all times, wherever you might be. So, let’s take a closer look at the fascinating traditions of Eid from around the world, reminiscing over those that have drifted away and tracking the others that only evolved with time.
New Outfits - Dress to Impress:
One of the most exciting Eid traditions is wearing new clothes! In many Muslim countries, it is customary to buy new clothes for the occasion. It is believed that new clothes signify a new beginning and fresh start. They don’t have to be luxurious or extravagant, but people aim to be in their best attire.
Some celebrators opt for traditional clothes for the special occasion while others choose pieces in line with their usual style. In Egypt, for example, you might see some people wearing traditional outfits called "galabeyas" during Eid. These colorful and flowy garments make for stunning photo ops, and everyone looks like they stepped straight out of a magazine!
Over the years, this tradition has taken so many forms. A few decades ago, people mainly relied on going to tailors to create new pieces for the occasion. Shortly after that, the stores started to be filled with shoppers before Eid. Then, we started seeing many simply choosing to shop online for their new outfits. With all three ways still practiced to varying degrees, it seems that this part of eid won’t die anytime soon to our pleasure!
Food, Glorious Food:
Eid is all about feasting and indulging in delicious foods. Different Muslim countries have their unique Eid delicacies, but one common feature is the sweet treats. From Turkish baklava to Indian seviyan, Eid is incomplete without sweets. In Egypt, the traditional food associated with Eid is “Kahk” and “Ghorayeba”. Both different kinds of cookies that are eaten plain or with nuts or dates. They are both usually made in small, bite-sized pieces and are often served with tea or coffee or given as gifts during the festivities.
Another Eid-significant food is “Maamoul,” a type of shortbread cookie that is usually filled with dates, nuts, or sweetened with rose water or orange blossom water. It is a popular dessert in many Middle Eastern countries, but especially in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq.
Eid Prayer - Start the day with a Bang:
Eid prayer is an essential part of the Eid celebrations. Muslims gather in mosques or open grounds at the crack of dawn to perform the special Eid prayer, which is a bit different from regular prayers. It is a chance for the community to come together and celebrate the occasion. In some countries like Malaysia, the Eid prayer is held in stadiums, and thousands of people attend!
Also, in the last decade, it has started to be more and more common in many countries to give out candy right after the Eid prayer inside the mosques. If you think this is all that this part of the day has to offer, you’re wrong! Also a more recent tradition, many mosques around the world, especially in the region, usually have hundreds of balloons gathered in a net on the roof and, once Eid prayer is over, they are released in the air to fill the skies, as well as the ground between the people, with a lively, joyous atmosphere.
Eidia - The Sweet Surprise:
Another exciting tradition of Eid is the exchange of gifts or "Eidia." Children and sometimes even adults receive money or gifts from their elders as a token of love and appreciation. The anticipation of receiving Eidia adds to the excitement and thrill of the occasion. In some countries like Pakistan, people decorate envelopes to put the Eidia in, making it even more fun!
Even with the rise of prices and hard financial times, people still cling to this tradition even if it’s with a symbolic amount of money. Sometimes, people write on the bill itself for the sake of the memory.
Photo: Visit Saudi.
Of course we couldn’t end the list without highlighting that Eid is a time for capturing memories and taking lots of pictures! People dress up in their finest outfits and pose for pictures with their loved ones. In many Muslim countries, people decorate their homes with colorful lights and lanterns, creating a festive ambiance. In Dubai, the iconic Burj Khalifa is lit up with Eid greetings, adding to the festive vibe.
So, with Eid coming up, dress up in your finest clothes, feast on delicious food, exchange Eidia, and capture memories to last a lifetime! You’re continuing traditions of generations ago and preserving them for those to come!