By: Masouda Qarizada
The festival of Eid ul-Fitr, the Festival of Fast-breaking, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.
In Afghanistan, Eid ul Fitr is marked with various tradition and customs. From long years, Afghan have had different traditions and custom to mark the festival of Eid days. During the last days of Ramadan, Afghans start to get preparation for Eid days. With new clothes, cookies and dried fruits, Afghans start and mark Eid.
It is said that Eid was celebrated so gloriously in the past as the people were marking the Eid days with full enthusiasm in Afghanistan. Youth, children and even elders were counting days and waiting to mark Eid days. In past, guest was received happily during Eid days and there was a tradition that no guest was allowed to leave home with eating some food.
Now after decades of war, the customs and traditions of Eid have changed as some people decorate the Eid table with various foods, dried and fresh fruits, meaning that people are now competing to put more on table. Besides, commuting to one’s relative homes has declined due to various problems and reasons.
“To receive guests during Eid days, most people have cookies and dried fruits ready on table. Some go to graveyard to pray for deceased members of family. Elders give money as Eidi to small children and there are various traditions for marking Eid days in the country,” said Sardar Mohammad, a Kabul resident.
For many Muslims, Eid al-Fitr is a festival to show gratitude to Allah for the help and strength he gave them throughout the month of Ramadan to help them practice self-control.
Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr with prayers called “Salat Al Eid” in Arabic. There is no audible call to prayer for the Eid prayers. Muslims will gather in mosques or open spaces and offer two units of prayer – called “Rukat”. The prayers are followed by a sermon, in which the imam asks for forgiveness, mercy, and peace for every being across the world.
Other key elements of the Eid celebrations are giving money to the poor (known as ‘Zakat al-Fitr’, the amount to be given depends on the possessions someone has), sending Eid greetings and feasting with families.
The phrase commonly used by Muslims as a greeting on this day is “Eid Mubarak”, which is Dari for ‘blessed festival’. The proper response to Eid Mubarak is “Eid Mubarak”, which wishes goodness on the person who has greeted you.