Friday, September 10, 2010

Festival of Fast-Breaking

The month of Ramadan ended on Wednesday 8 September in the Sudan. The moon has been sighted and the festival of breaking the fast can begin

I took this photo an hour after the first one, as it was getting light

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims observe a strict fast and participate in pious activities such as charitable giving and peace-making. It is a time of intense spiritual renewal for those who observe it. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world observe a joyous three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking).

Eid al-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy.

Before the day of Eid, during the last few days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the poor. This donation is of actual food -- rice, barley, dates, etc. -- to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking).

On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning in outdoor locations or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer.

After the Eid prayer, Muslims usually scatter to visit various family and friends, give gifts (especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday.

The start of the feast is marked by massive outdoor worship services at local mosques. Many then spend the afternoon and evening visiting family, friends and neighbours. Those with recent deaths in the family get special attention in hopes the celebrations will distract them from mourning. In cities, families also head to public gardens for picnics while kids run around with newly purchased toy guns and shoot at each other.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir called for the country's numerous armed movements to lay down their arms and engage in dialogue rather than violence to solve their differences.  Source Internet

Here in Khartoum we have seen the preparations for this celebration. The shopping mall, Afra, is decorated with shiny streamers (Christmas decorations) and the pastry, cookie and sweet displays are a sight to behold. There are literally towers of scrumptious - looking cookies wrapped in cellophane. I asked two ladies manning one of these displays, if I could take a photo, but they didn't seem keen, so I had to leave it.

All around were families (mainly dad's) with their children and they were stocking up on new clothes, sweets and toys for the children.

Every other supermarket we visited had cutglass cookie plates filled with biscuits and other sweet treats all covered with cellophane. The deli display trays were overflowing with olives, pickles, cream cheese, lubneh, tabouleh,  deep fried savouries and a host of hard cheeses and cold meats.

The vegetable market stalls on the streets look beautiful with fresh produce to tempt the eye.

Yesterday Miriam arrived at work with her young neice to help her. She said she'd like to finish work early and go home to prepare for Eid. I have a box of  assorted sweets/candy for her to take home to her two little boys.

Miriam's two young sons (pictured above) came to work with her in May. I bought them pencil crayons and books and Grant brought them a soccer ball on the way home from work. The older one is quiet and studious while the younger one (in blue shirt) is the adventurous one. As soon as Grant arrived with the ball, he dropped the drawing and began to kick the ball to Grant instead!

The Arabic for celebration of breaking the fast is ʻYd al-Fţr (pronounced eed-a-fiturr)

For more skies around the world, click here


  1. Love the pics of the moon. As if there's a big smile on a clean slate!!! Those boys seemed to be having so much fun, despite the different character. :) Have a great weekend sister. God bless and protect you always.

  2. Interesting that the festival begins when the moon is first sighted. I enjoyed reading about the customs associated with Ramadan.

  3. Like the photo of the moon. Muslims in Malaysia are celebrating today, end of Ramadam fasting month. During the fasting month, there are special stalls set up in the evening selling foods that we normally don't get during the other days. Nice blog.

  4. I guess after a month of strict fasting I'd be ready for a celebration too. Interesting to hear about different cultural festivals.
    Great shots of the moon and I Love the new header.

  5. the moon photos got me smiling..they are really beautiful. thanks for the info about Ramadan and those buys look like they're busy having fun:)

  6. Thank you so much, Jo! I did enjoy reading and learning more about Ramadan like Janie. It seems to me that the more we can learn about other peoples religion and beliefs, the more understanding and tolerant we can become. And that understanding is so needed today. I love your post and seeing the young boys enjoying themselves. You do so much to open the doors to understanding. And again, thank you.
    Have a lovely weekend!


  7. The food for the feast sounds interesting. We have 50% muslims in our school and they have taught us about their customs.I worry about the kids not drinking all day when it is very hot.

  8. Thank you for posting about this custom. Posts such as this help people from other cultures understand Muslims instead of being afraid.

  9. I love the photos and your description of Ramadan.

    If you have a moment drop by my blog for more pictures of Africa (Kenya). Blessings xx

  10. That is so interesting. I'd love to try some of those sweets!

  11. I always know when it's Ramadan, because our gardner is Morrocan and last time I offered him to drink and he said he couldn't take it because of Ramadan, I had completely forgotten, and felt so sorry for the young guy it was hot and he cut the hedge !

  12. Jo: Wonderful captures of the New Moon. The kids look like they had a good day.

  13. Great moon shots. I also liked your explanation about Ramadan. Very well explained.

  14. The moon was looking particularly beautiful to mark the end of the fasting and the beginning of the feasting. Thank you so much for telling us about Muslim customs such as these, because here in North America we usually hear only the bad things. My husband and I are fortunate to have Muslim friends, but so many people don't understand that we are all human beings together, trying to survive on this planet. Sylvia is so right, if we don't learn about one another, and learn to understand one another, we are lost.
    Alberta, Canada

  15. Hi Jo, This is so interesting... I have never studied this religion --and all I've heard is the 'bad' part about it --which is probably only a very small percentage of most Muslims. I enjoy learning more about them --and really admire their discipline.

    Thanks for sharing..

  16. I told my Somalian student that in Malaysia, after Ramadan, we have hari raya aidifri. He said he calls it Aid.

    In Malaysia and Singapore, they have Open House.

  17. Really great shots !!
    I love it...
    Greatings from Holland,


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