Id al Fitr is, by far, the most popular feast of Islam.
The feast is preceded, on the night of
the 26th to 27th day of Ramadan by 'Laylat al-Qadr' or the 'Night of
Power': the celebration of the revelation of the Koran to Mohammed..
revealed the Koran on the night of Qadr.........
That night is peace, till break of dawn' (Sourate 97)
It is a 'blessed night', a night of great religious fervour, that pious
Muslims spend at the mosque, chanting the Koranic text.
At this time of the year, you will see a wind of solidarity blowing
in the Muslim world.
in the Maghreb, neighbours, cousins and friends come together
to lend a hand and prepare cakes. Children and husbands help the preparations
by bringing huge plates, laden with eastern pastries, which were baked
in the local bakery who hired out their ovens for the occasion. Otherwise,
the men are in charge of shopping (almonds, honey, and pistachio flour)
and supervising the domino games played on the footpath in front of
the local grocery store!
In West Africa, in Burkina Faso for
example, where a population comprising 40% Muslin, 40% Traditional Religion,
and 20% Christian, live in peace, the Muslims send platters of food
to family friends, Christians among others, and these come and greet
them in return by wishing them a 'Happy Feast'
Muslim children spend the afternoon, visiting other families, of all
religions, and sing a little song in return for some coins or sweets.
The local Bishop writes a congratulatory letter and accompanied by a
delegation, visits the local Immam and hands it to him.
The feast begins, early in the morning
at the local mosque, by prayers in common. They are followed by a
sermon preached by the Immam.
Then, after this long period of fasting, it is the opportunity
of eating more plentiful meals in the family, to visit relatives and
to exchange greetings.
It is also a feast for the children
who sport new clothes and are offered presents.
The whole social life is full with cheerfulness and joy.
It is also the religious duty of every Muslim, to think of
the poor by giving charity (Zakat) and food.
Happy feast of Id