Our Saudi Arabian students have today come to the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Eid al Fitr (a major Muslim holiday) falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy.
Before the day of Eid, during the last few days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the poor. This donation is of actual food-rice, barley, dates, etc.-to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast breaking).
On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning in outdoor locations or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. this consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer.
After the Eid prayer, Muslims usually scatter to visit various family and friends, give gifts (especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well- wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday.
Common greetings for Islamic holidays
Muslims observe two major holidays; Eid al-Fitr (at the end of the annual fasting month of Ramadan), and Eid al-adha (at the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca). during these times, Muslims give thanks to Allah for his bounty and mercy, Celebrate the holy days, and wish each other well. While appropriate words in any language are welcome, there are some traditional or common Arabic greetings that one may use or come across;
- "Eid Mubarak!" which means "Blessed Eid!"
- "Eid Saeed!" which means "Happy Eid!"
Today marked the end of Ramadan and the celebration the Eid al -Fitr holiday. Our students went to the Mosque in the morning and in the afternoon joined in the festivities at Otago University which were hosted by the Saudi Student club. There was a bouncy castle for children, packs with flowers chocolate and information about the festival were given out as well as Candy floss. We were then treated to the visual spectacle of Arabian dancing. This was fantastic and some of our students joined in the fun and took part in the dancing as well. This video clip shows the kind of dancing that was on display.