Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The first thing that pops up in mind when discoursing about Eid, is how many holidays will be granted this time around? There’s no denying that we all earnestly await the Eid holidays as they offer a great opportunity to unwind, catch some Z’s, and paint the town at night. But living in the Middle East we ought to be more perceptive and pay homage to this divine festival, which is celebrated by Muslims all over the world with great zeal and devotion.

Fireworks for Eid (Photo by Rahul Sakkia) 

The word “Eid” itself is an Arabic denotation for a “festivity”, a “feast”, profoundly a “celebration that invokes recurring happiness”. It is a way of dispelling all sorrows, qualms and apprehensions for a moment and devoting attention to things that bring tranquility and immense joy to the soul. Generally Muslims observe two Eids annually, each bearing individual significance.

The first one is ‘Eid Al-Fitr – the ‘Feast of Breaking the Fast’, that is celebrated in conclusion to the holy month of Ramadan to display gratitude to the Almighty and cognizance of his bounties. The second is the major Eid, ‘EidAl-Adha – the ‘Feast of Sacrifice’, that is celebrated to commemorate the memory of Prophet Abraham and his rendition of consummate loyalty towards Allah by going forth with the sacrifice of his son Ishmael on God’s command.

Eid Prayers at Sharjah Mosque

‘Eid Al-Fitr – ‘Feast of Breaking the Fast’

After observing a stringent fast during the holy month of Ramadan, ‘Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated on its conclusion as a token of accomplishment. Commenced by Prophet Muhammad, this festivity is celebrated with family and friends.

The day is initiated by performing the Eid prayer in mosques, people then visit relatives and friends, exchange gifts, blessings and good wishes and finally sit together for a satiating meal. The merriment can sometimes carry on for three days.

It is a joyous ritual to commemorate a fruitful spiritual rejuvenation for those who observe the fast. During this fasting period Muslims curtail from hedonistic acts and instead dedicate their time to partaking in the devout cause of lending charity to the less fortunate so even they are ensured of having a meal on this day and are able to rejoice in the occasion.

Highlighted by a sense of hospitality and gratitude, ‘Eid Al-Fitr is observed on the first day of Shawwal and this year round; was celebrated on July 28.
Eid confectioneries

‘Eid Al-Adha – ‘Feast of Sacrifice’

During the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Muslims all across the globe come together to fervidly reminisce and commemorate the tests and feats of Prophet Ibrahim who according to the holy Qur’an was typified as being the most dutiful of all Prophets.

When commanded by his almighty through a lucid dream to sacrifice his own son Isma'eel, without a shadow of doubt the Prophet in entirety submitted to this order and as he was about to carry out the deed, Allah conceded his sacrifice by placing a lamb in his son’s stead.

Through this act Prophet Abraham displayed his imperforate devotion and loyalty towards Allah and proved that his love for the Almighty surpassed all others. Hence, in the spirit of appreciating Prophet Abraham’s meritoriously selfless act, Muslims celebrate ‘Eid Al-Adha by sacrificing a lamb, goat, or ram and portioning the meat by thirds between immediate family and relatives, friends, and as charity to the less fortunate.

This Eid is observed after the completion of Hajj. The tenth day of Duh Al-Hijja and also the last day of the Islamic year marks the first day of this its celebration, which carries on for four merry days. This year ‘Eid Al-Fitr commences on October 4. 

Now that you know, the divine distinctiveness between the two salient festivities marked in the Islamic calendar, it's time to plunge into the holiday spirit.

With temperature dipping down to a bearable 34oC heading out to the beach sounds like a plausible idea, or even planning a road trip with company of family and friends, or devising a major shopping spree amidst the upbeat hustle and bustle of the Dubai Shopping Festival that will go on till October 11.

There are really innumerable festivities happening around town, decked up malls and cultural centers have sworn to offer visitors with quintessential ‘Eid Al-Adha celebrations, so head down to any of these malls listed below and invest your weekend for an exuberant experience.

¨      Dubai Mall
¨      Mall of the Emirates
¨      Deira City Centre
¨      Mirdif City Centre
¨      Galleria Mall in Abu Dhabi
¨      Sharjah City Centre
¨      Fujairah City Centre
¨      Umm Al Quwain Mall
¨      Bawadi Mall in Al Ain

Eid Mubarak to one and all!

 By Nikita Wadkar
 The writer is a final year undergraduate student from School of Media and Communication specializing in Journalism.