Eid is an extremely momentous time in the lives of those celebrating. An occasion that commences upon the rising of the new moon which marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Auspicious and festive; this time is one that brings about much excitement and joy with simple efforts and rituals.
While globally Eid practices are similar rooting to the Islamic way of doing things; some regions have their own distinct characteristics added to it.
As many prefer to avoid having a last-minute hassle before the wake of Eid, the shopping begins ahead of time or in the early part of Ramadan.
Although an active effort is made many do end up procrastinating and leaving the errand of shopping for eid clothes, household items, and edibles for the last hour.
Deep cleaning of households ahead of Eid is a favoured and common practice amongst many keeping in mind the prophetic teaching that cleanliness is half of the Islamic faith.
While it may seem like a given, the essentiality of showering at the dawn of Eid is vital. Just like cleansing before any prayer (known as “wudhu”) is a mandatory requirement for any prayer; the prescribed teachings further emphasize the shower before Eid prayer as a favoured virtuous act.
Rooting from the prophetic way of life, Muslims are advised to adorn themselves in the best clothes they have for Eid; thus, many purchase clothes specifically for the occasion or put on their newest and cleanest attire. This is a tradition to represent the happiness and joy of the celebration.
The earliest ritual of the day and the mandate is the Eid prayer. It is prayed in the early hours of the day post the daily dawn prayer. Upon completion, worshippers retain their seats to listen to the religious speech which is an essential part of the ritual.
The Eid prayer is one that has to be prayed in congregation; thus, many prefer to go to the mosques or other locations where groups gather to pray.
The Eid greeting amongst family is typically an embrace while uttering the words “Eid Mubarak” translating to “blessed Eid”. In the case of those beyond the immediate family, the embrace remains within the same gender.
It is customary even to greet and wish those unknown met along the way at the place of prayer or after.
The typical ritual in Qatar on the day of Eid would be a hearty feast along with family members; immediate and distant alike. The elaborate meal in Qatar is always a full course meal which includes the traditional "Machboos" and other specials.
The practice of an Eid visit is quite dominant in Qatar as many spend the first 3 days visiting relatives and friends around the city. Typically the visits commence by prioritizing the elderly, especially on the first day of Eid; ensuring that the Eid wish is accompanied by a kiss on the forehead which is the most favoured form of respect.
A custom that many look forward to is the children’s favourite “Eidiya” which is the practice of older family members treating children to an amount of money. Typically at the time of exchanging greetings, the money is either tucked into the hands or pockets of the receiver. The practise that has evolved in recent times is to package the money into fancy pouches or gift boxes.
Furthermore, aside from the Eid money, this is a time when many families and friends treat each other with small tokens of love in the form of gifts.
A tradition that has been there for years is the one where Qatari women adorn their hands and feet with intricate and unique henna designs. The natural paste that leaves a deep red or brown design signifies that it's time for celebrations. Once stained and accessorized with jewellery; only then is the Eid look complete for many women in Qatar.
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