Eid al-Fitr is a joyous celebration for the Muslim community, marking the end of the month of Ramadan. However this time of celebration can also be isolating for many. Yasmina El Mrabet writes about her experience celebrating Eid al-Fitr in Australia, and how you can support your Muslim friends during this festive time.
If you have ever spent Christmas in a country where it is not celebrated, this article might resonate with this memory of yours.
For the past 30 days, many of our fellow students who are Muslim have observed Ramadan, fasting from dawn to sunset. During this holy month, Muslims around the world are encouraged to reflect, share, give and forgive. By not eating or drinking, they perform an act of spiritual selflessness and cherish moments spent with their loved ones when it is time to share meals. However, practicing Ramadan in a non-Muslim country often means that you are away from your family and friends when your sense of community is most celebrated.
Today marks the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, a major celebration around the world. Eid al-Fitr, also known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast, is a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.
In Australia, celebrating Eid al-Fitr can be a unique and special experience for Muslim students. In Muslim countries, Eid al-Fitr is a public holiday. Families and friends gather and visit each other’s homes. They have often spent hours, sometimes days, preparing delicious foods to share with their loved ones and give away charitably. People will wear nice clothes to honour visitors and will give children presents, often money and sweets. Eid al-Fitr is a festive time of the year that is a cornerstone of Muslims’ childhood memories.
Our fellow Muslim students might even find it comforting to prepare these traditional recipes and share them with you! Those treats hold a special place to their heart and sharing them is a joyous occasion for Muslims. It may be impossible for Muslim students to travel back to their home countries for Eid al-Fitr. Celebrating this occasion alone can be similar to spending Christmas alone, which can be an isolating and lonely experience for many.
You can show your support and respect by wishing your Muslim friends “Eid Mubarak” (eed mu-bah-rack), which means “Blessed Eid” in Arabic. This simple greeting will warm their hearts and show that you are aware of their celebration.
As a non-Muslim, if you are invited to an Eid al-Fitr gathering, you do not need to know everything about Islam or the cultural aspects of the celebration. Showing up and enjoying the company of your Muslim friends is enough to them. Sharing good food and good vibes is part of the spirit of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
If there is a celebration that celebrates the joy of being together, it’s Eid al-Fitr. Regardless of if you are Muslim or not, you are welcome to join this cultural and religious celebration.
Feature image by Yasmina El Mrabet, Yak Designer