Saudi Arabia is a witness to one of the grandest Eid ul Fitr celebrations in the world with all sorts of flamboyant decorations and lavish feasts.
This festival demands devotees to showcase their generosity and hospitality through the holy month of Ramadan and to do the same during the festival of Eid. Apart from families preparing for children who will be receiving gifts and sweets from their elders, people buy food items, depending on their financial ability, and some well to do families even keep those outside the doors of the less privileged houses, keeping in mind the spirit of generosity that has been brought along during Ramadan.
During the last 10 days of Ramadan, there will be two types of people that you will encounter:
One would be those who stay in mosques/their homes for the purpose of worshiping and in the quest for the great night of Laylatul Qadr, which is The Night of Power and is considered the holiest night in the Islamic calendar.
It is believed that on this night, the Quran, which is the holy boom of Muslims, was sent down from the heavens to Earth. The exact date of this night is unknown but occurs on one of the last ten odd nights of Ramadan (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th).
According to Islamic tradition, Muslims who stay up on this holy night worshipping Allah will have all their sins forgiven. Additionally, they will be granted as many good deeds as though they had worshipped continuously for one thousand months
The second are those who spend most of their time in markets, shopping for Eid Ul Fitr in full swing. Going out after iftaar and coming home after sahoor.
It won’t be unusual to see the shops bustling with people and the roads in commotion with traffic. It is actually one of the significant things which people miss during their “post-Ramadan depression” state, as during normal days, shops in Saudi Arabia usually get closed before midnight.
Saudis dutifully renovate and decorate their homes in preparation for Eid Ul Fitr. Traditional big meals are also dedicatedly prepared at homes to be served to families and friends as a grand Eid feast, for which people begin to shop in the last ten days to make sure that they have all the necessary ingredients; sweet dishes get extra attention this occasion.
Bakeries and confectioners make the most profit during this time of the year, as they are crowded with consumers who are busy making their choices and booking their favourite sweet items for when Eid ul Fitr arrives. Assorted sweetmeats arranged in decorative pre-packed containers are the usual picks but even cakes and other sweet delicacies also get to go home.
Beauty parlours and salons find their businesses at peak too. These are swarmed with ladies who sometimes wait for hours, looking forward to getting pampered and groomed for the occasion that is quickly approaching. There are even cases who spend the whole night before Eid in salons getting beautified and by the time they turn up their homes, it is almost Fajr time.
The night before Eid Ul Fitr, many households prepare by cleaning their house spotless and lighting incense to make their homes have a wonderful aroma in anticipation for the guests that will be visiting the next day.
In the ten days before Eid, banks are visited often as people make withdrawals for new money which will be given to children as a present for Eid. It is referred to as “Eidia”.
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