Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Eid Al-Fitr in Jordan

What is Eid Al Fitr?!
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims observe a strict fast and participate in pious activities such as charitable giving and peace-making. It is a time of intense spiritual renewal for those who observe it. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world observe a joyous three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr ("the Festival of Fast-Breaking").

Eid al-Fitr is a time to give charity to those in need and to 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 actual food (or money can be given to the Mosque to buy food and distribute) to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as "charity of fast-breaking".

On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning in mosques or other arranged place to perform the Eid prayer. The Eid prayer 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.

Eid Al-Fitr in Jordan
As described above, Eid Al-Fitr is a 3 day holiday and we are just finishing day three. We have been busy over the past 3 days visiting family and they have been visiting us. The visits can be long or short. Most visits last around a half hour. This length of time gives us time to visit Yanal's entire family...his Mom has 6 siblings, his Dad has 12 siblings and many of these siblings have grown families of their own to visit as well (Mashallah, God Bless Them)!

During these visits we wish everyone a Happy Eid, eat sweets, drink tea or coffee and talk for a little while before going to the next home. The kids have fun eating candy, playing together and sometimes someone will put a little money in the kids' pocket. It is common that everyone is wearing new clothes to these visits. These clothes can be formal or just something nice to wear through out the next year.

The kids are also given a gift or two from their parents and maybe their grandparents or other relatives during the Eid. --- We bought Aisha a small keyboard with microphone that plays back her beautiful singing voice! My little lady LOVES to sing and dance, so she LOVED the new toy. She also recieved her very own swing (for now, until Omar grows up and wants to swing--LOL) from Grandma Almanasir. My little lady also LOVES to swing. Bring her to the playground and that's all she wants to do is swing, swing, swing; so, she's having fun with her own swing. Lastly, she was given a new dress from Auntie Rasha and some money from other relatives. Omar recieved some money which we will use to get him something special. ---

Because about 95% of the country is Muslim and they are all celebrating Eid, the malls and stores were busy, busy, busy the week before the holiday! It was like Christmas in the US. The streets were jammed packed with cars and people walking everywhere looking for new outfits to wear and gifts to give! The highway by the mall, near our apartment, was backed up over a mile every day from all the people trying to get to the mall.

My mother-in-law owns a chocolate store. In addition to chocolate, during the holidays she also sells homemade cookies called Maamoul(-sp?!). It is a small, labor intensive cookie that is filled with dates or nuts. Her workers and the household have been working hard on making literally thousands of these cookies for weeks before the Eid! Mashallah, her store was so busy the night before the Eid that she was open until 200am! She ran out of cookies and the workers were up all night making more and they have continued making cookies until yesterday!

The salons are also just as busy! Everyone waits until the last days before the Eid to get their hair cut, colored and blow dryed. Many of the women here have curly hair and they get their hair dryed at the salon to straighten their hair and make it beautiful! Even though many of them cover their hair with the Hijab (headscarf), they still women and have the need to be beautiful! It is also common to get pedicure, manicures and sugaring (similar to waxing) prior to the Eid. Everone wants to look their best. It has been rumored that many salons were open all night, the night before Eid. I guess many women waited and waited to get fixed and they were unable to fix everyone, so people waited all night for nothing! --Reminder, appointments here are uncommon. You just show up and wait your turn...note to self, not a good idea the night before Eid!

Some people here decorate the outside of their homes with lights. It is becoming more common, but it is no where near the decor of Christmas in the US!! Maybe 1 out of every 6 homes have a string of lights, a cresent moon with a star or a lantern.

It has been a fun and tiring experience, Eid Al-Fitr in Jordan. It's neat to see the traditions of other people. I have experienced Eid Al-Fitr in Milwaukee, but it's different from here because there are soooo many people visiting back and forth.

Yanal has 1 more day off (total of 6 days in a row, with last weekend) until he heads back to work for a day and then it's the weekend off again! Gotta love the paid holiday time-off they get too! It's fun to have him around so much...Aisha can't get enough of him!! (Omar thinks he's fun too!)


  1. Wow, I got worn out just reading about all of that!!! I will talk to you again soon!!

  2. Thank You so much for share your Holiday with us all. It sounded like a fun and busy time.
    Love Auntie Sharee