Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eid Mubarak!

The first day of Eid Al Fitr (the 3 day Festival of Fast Breaking) will be either tomorrow or Wednesday depending on the sighting of the moon. It's the biggest Muslim holiday of the year and marks the end of Ramadan and the start of the next month in the Muslim calendar, which is called Shawwal. Eid Al Fitr is celebrated with prayers, breaking the fast, visiting relatives, gift giving and eating (during the day now!). There is also a huge charity component to the holiday as charity is one of the five pillars of Islam so there are a lot of charity drives being advertised and conducted during this time.

For the working set, it means 2-5 days off of work depending on your situation. All government workers got the entire week off (Sun-Thurs), some of the other public sector workers get Tues - Thur off and some get either Tues & Wed or Wed & Thur. And yet others still don't know which days they'll have off because the holiday is dependent on the moon sighting. One woman I talked to said she and her husband need to watch the late news on Monday night to determine if he needs to go into work on Tuesday! It seems a bit crazy that in these days of technology we can't forecast the moon sighting, but I've read that the Muslim leaders are actually trying hard to keep the old traditions of human eye moon sighting rather than rely on technology. Not sure what the true story is, but it makes for interesting vacation planning.

I found this article in the Abu Dhabi Weekly magazine and thought it was a nice example of how Emiratis celebrate Eid. Enjoy!
An Emirati Eid (article)

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