Kol 3am wa antum bekhair! (I wish you goodness every year)
A Muslim tongue recites this line a myriad of times on the holy day of Eid. This traditional phrase gives us a little peek into the cultural celebration of Eid in Palestine. Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan and the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal. Eid is a time of giving and celebrating with your family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy.
Buying new clothes is a widespread tradition and the clothes hunting can begin as early as a month before, but some usually agree that it can happen the day before. Days before Eid, households begin decorating their houses with lanterns and lights and get cleaned, even if they’re perfectly clean. The space has to be perfectly spotless for the family and friends ready to spend the long nights celebrating together. A couple of days before, the making of traditional date cookies called ma’moul or ka’ik begins. The sweet smell of the cookies lingering in the streets is sure to bring excitement and anticipation to all. Eid dress rehearsals may begin in households to show what each person is going to be wearing. Ironing your clothes happens the night before.
On the day of Eid, Muslims all over the world gather at mosques in the morning to perform the Eid prayer, before the real celebrations begin. The car ride to the mosque in the early morning is when families read the takbirat, and it’s sure to help scratch your voice because of how many times you repeat the chant. Muslims are obligated to give Zakat, or charity, to those in need, so that they may enjoy Eid as well. Because it is a time of giving, adults usually give children and young adults presents or money, and occasionally trade gifts between each other as well. Families will visit their neighbors and extended families to wish glad tidings upon them on this very special day. Others might be taking their time making phone calls to distant relatives to wish them a happy Eid. Men travel door to door drinking traditional Arabic coffee and eating sweets, visiting whoevers door is open. Children play in the streets, showing off their presents to their friends.
After waking up so early to get ready, everyone is sure to be hungry. Traditions vary from country to country, of course, but fisikh, an Egyptian fried fish, has become a household staple for most Palestinians for breakfast on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. Palestinians make the best of the holiday spending it around family, food, and desserts.
Written By: Doaa Abulebbeh