Eid al Fitr Holiday in the Maldives
Eid al-Fitr, also known as Ramazan Eid, is a significant religious holiday celebrated in the Maldives. This Muslim festival marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The exact date of Eid al-Fitr varies every year, as it is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar. The holiday is observed when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted, which signals the conclusion of Ramadan and the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
Eid al-Fitr has been celebrated in the Maldives since the country embraced Islam in 1153 AD. The Maldives was converted to Islam by a North African Berber Muslim named Abu al-Barakat. The island nation has since maintained its Islamic identity and continued to observe significant Islamic festivals like Eid al-Fitr.
National customs for Eid al-Fitr in the Maldives
Eid al-Fitr in the Maldives is a time for family and community to come together in celebration. The day begins with Muslims performing a special prayer called Salat al-Eid at mosques across the country. The prayer service is followed by a sermon, during which the Imam (religious leader) reminds the congregation about the importance of charity, compassion, and unity.
Charitable giving is an essential aspect of Eid al-Fitr in the Maldives. Muslims are encouraged to donate to the less fortunate before participating in the Salat al-Eid prayer. This act is known as Zakat al-Fitr and is meant to ensure that everyone in the community can enjoy the festivities of Eid.
Following the prayer service, families and friends gather to share meals and exchange gifts. Traditional Maldivian delicacies, such as hedhikaa (small snacks) and desserts like bondi bai (sticky rice with coconut milk) and sai (Maldivian tea), are enjoyed during the celebrations. New clothes are often worn, and children receive Eidi (gifts of money) from their elders.
Local customs for Eid al-Fitr in the Maldives
While the national customs of Eid al-Fitr are observed throughout the Maldives, some local customs may vary between islands. In some regions, communities may organize sports competitions, cultural performances, or other activities to mark the occasion. Traditional music and dance, such as boduberu (a type of drumming) and bandiya (a dance performed with water pots), may also be featured during local celebrations.
Eid al-Fitr is an important and meaningful holiday in the Maldives, signifying the end of the holy month of Ramadan and providing an opportunity for Muslims to come together in the spirit of unity, charity, and gratitude. The national and local customs observed during this time reflect the deep-rooted Islamic heritage of the Maldivian people and their commitment to maintaining their religious and cultural traditions.