The paradise-like climate has come and gone. It’s the spring of our lives, the nourishment of our souls, the month of patience, the month of the Quran, the month of mercy – Ramadan. Once again, it graced us with its presence, bringing happiness to our faces and warmth to our hearts. Now is the time to bid it farewell, to long for its return, and to start looking forward to its arrival once more. Ramadan is a month so special that even its farewell offers us the gift of a “holiday,” reminding Muslims to remember one another, strengthen their bonds, and bring joy to the elderly and children alike.
This divine gift, this legacy of the final Prophet, Ramadan is celebrated and cherished like an ancient festival. Every year, we eagerly anticipate its arrival and make preparations. But what are these preparations that we speak of?
In our country, the usual preparations are well-known. People wear their finest clothes, visit graves and elders, distribute sweets, and give Eidi (gifts or money) to the young. But what preparations do Muslims in other countries make? What are the unique Eid traditions around the world?
How do we know when Eid has arrived in Egypt? You see it from the colorful lanterns adorning homes, workplaces, and streets. These lanterns, called Ramadan lanterns by Egyptians, are considered symbols of happiness, signaling the arrival of Eid.
According to a weak Hadith, our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, used to apply kohl to his eyes three times before sleeping. In our tradition, applying kohl to the eyes is considered a Sunnah (practice). Yemeni men have been following this tradition for centuries, applying kohl to their eyes during Eid.
In Indonesia, there’s a unique way of greeting each other during Eid: “Mohon maaf lahir dan batin,” which means, “I seek forgiveness with all my heart, for my physical and spiritual shortcomings.” For them, it’s a way to reconcile and seek forgiveness from one another.
Indonesians also have a tradition of “Takbiran Walks.” On the night of Eid, they fill the streets, either on foot or in cars, chanting “Takbir” to celebrate.
Another fascinating Indonesian tradition is Padusan, where people believe that by bathing in rivers or lakes, they cleanse themselves both physically and spiritually, drawing closer to God.
Lastly, there’s a tradition we might wish to adopt: Open House. Government officials open their homes to the public, serving sweets in a buffet-style feast during Eid.
One of the significant Eid traditions in Pakistan is the Chaand Raat celebrations. These festivities involve setting up grand Iftar dinners in open areas. Women gather to wear colorful bangles and apply henna patterns to their hands.
Kyrgyzstan has a traditional Eid event called Ca Ramazan. Starting from the 15th day of Ramadan, children and young people go door-to-door, either on foot or on horseback, to visit every house, reciting prayers, wishes, and good intentions through their unique musical instruments. In return, they receive various gifts from the community and then distribute them to those in need.
Muslims in Nigeria celebrate Eid al-Fitr with the 600-year-old tradition of “Hawan Daushe,” which involves Horse Processions. Prearranged groups of young men, along with horses specially adorned for the occasion, parade through the streets in elaborate attire, celebrating the holiday with the public.
In South Africa, the announcement of Eid’s arrival is marked by the “Hilal” seekers, who come to Cape Town every year to participate in Maan Kyker festivities. This tradition has become a regular part of the festivities, as in South Africa, Eid doesn’t begin until the Maan Kykers, or Moon Observers, announce it.