Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr after a month of fasting in Ramadan
The Holy month of Ramadan drew to an end on Thursday, and Muslims across the world are celebrating one of the most significant festivals in Islam - Eid al-Fitr.
The festival falls on the first day of 'Shawwal', the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. However, the date of Eid al-Fitr is decided on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities; hence the date of Eid varies every year, from place to place.
It is on this day that the believers, after a month of fasting, hope to return to their pure and divine nature and consolidate their lives forever in the path of worship and obedience to God and reducing worldly attachments.
Therefore, according to the narrations, God illuminated this noble day with his light so that his mercy and blessing would be more included among the pious.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims seek to purify their souls through fasting and repentance from with God Almighty, and cleanse themselves of all outward and inward impurities that are contrary to their nature and to their true divine conscience.
Eid al-Fitr practices and traditions
During this Islamic holiday, the process of ghusl (full-body ritual purification), Eid prayers, a special charity called Zakat al-Fitr, and visiting is common practice for Muslims everywhere. Apart from these practices, unique traditions and customs are present amongst individual Muslim communities all around the world.
From Turkey to Iceland, Eid traditions around the world differ by region but encompass the same feelings of joy across the globe.
African countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Somalia, South Africa, Nigeria, and several others, celebrate Eid in a similar fashion with prayers in the morning at the local mosques before the grand family get-together, where local food items play a dominant role.
In Morocco, traditional dresses are worn by men and women, and Moroccan pancakes are a breakfast staple, along with their famous mint tea, while in Somalia, Halvo is the dessert of the day.
In Mombasa, Kenya, Muslims mark the last ten days of Ramadan with street festivals and socialising. The festival, which is open in the evening when the daily fast ends, offer people a chance to buy presents for friends and family. Storytellers also roam the streets in some places during Eid, entertaining kids with folktales.