Eid Al Fitr Feast
The two major Eid festivals
Eid is an Arabic name meaning ‘festivity’, or a celebration marking happiness and feasting. The two major Eids celebrated by Muslim community world over are Eid al-Fitr named as the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’ and Eid al-Adha, ‘Festival of Sacrifice’. While former celebrates the end of Ramadan, latter coincides with the Hajj and commemorates sacrifice of a sheep in place of Prophet Ishmael by Prophet Abraham.
Why is Eid al-Fitr celebrated?
Celebrated after fasting for the entire month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr signifies thanks and gratitude for the Almighty Allah. It’s celebrated on the first day of Shawwal in tenth month of lunar calendar. Being a happy celebration, Muslims buy new clothes, gifts, and good food. In Egypt the festivity continues for three days during which schools and government offices remain closed.
Eid al-Fitr food specialties eaten in Egypt
Eid marks a time of family gatherings and merry-making. It involves cooking and eating many Egyptian dishes and delicacies. The food most commonly associated with the celebration is kahk, which are nut filled cookies, covered in powdered sugar. Fast breaking is a social event, and at dawn friends and relatives are invited by Egyptian families which is done with dates or by drinking Qamar- eddeen, which is an apricot juice containing small bit of nuts and dried fruits. The drink served only during this time seems to be supplying the much needed sugar after fasting for so many hours and is very delicious and filling.
Next from the food is a bowl of lentil soup, made traditionally, which is flavored with lemon juice and some extra ginger. Another dish is Mahshi, which is made from Rice, dill, parsley, diced tomatoes and tomato juice mixed and rolled in cabbage or grape leaves, the stuffing can be altered to get distinct flavors as preferred.
Molokhia is another unique dish made in Egypt, where the leaf of jute tree is diced in chicken broth with dried cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper and appears to be a slimy, Green soup with an addictive taste.
Famous Mesaka’a is another Egyptian dish made out of fried eggplant which is dried before adding the seasoning. It’s a delicious, low-calorie food for the health-conscious. Batatis bil frakh, potatoes with chicken, is another easy dish from the Egyptian Eid feast.
The month of Ramadan
The Month of Ramadan is considered very sacred, during which Muslims observe strict fast and participate in pious activities like charity and peacemaking. People who observe it recognize the same as the time of intense spiritual renewal. The end of Ramadan begins with the three-day celebration of Eid al-Fitr. Few days before Eid, Muslim families give a specific amount of donation to the needy and the poor, which is made in the form of food to ensure every Muslim, can have a hearty meal and can celebrate this day. The donation is referred as sadaqah al-fitr or the charity of fast breaking.
On the day of Eid, Muslims gather at mosques or outdoor locations for Eid prayers, which includes sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. Children receive Eidyah, which is a customary from their grown-up relatives that is given in the form of small sum of money.
Eid al-Fitr in 2014
In 2014, Eid al-Fitr is expected to be on or near the 28th of July, which is Monday. Muslims all across the globe celebrate this day with a lot of merry making and by indulging in feasting till their heart’s content. Similar is in Egypt.
The special food and delicacies cooked on the day of Eid al-Fitr may differ from one country to another. But the sole aim of all people is to celebrate the end of Ramadan and the power of the Almighty, Allah. Every Muslim family, depending on their budget, cooks a hearty meal and invites friends and relatives to celebrate happiness and togetherness on this pious day.
Eid celebration is not just seen among the people, but even the television celebrates the same by broadcasting movies and programs continuously, featuring live interviews of citizens and public figures from all across Egypt. The most general greeting that people give and receive on this festival day is ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘Blessed Eid’.
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