Muslims Celebrate Eid ul-Fitr

Society | September 20, 2009, Sunday // 10:18|  views

The only Mosque in Sofia, Banya Bashi, will mark Sunday the biggest Muslim holiday - Ramazan Bayrami. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Muslims around the world celebrate Sunday their most important holiday, Eid ul-Fitr.

The day marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and the beginning of three-day long celebrations. Muslims are commanded by the Qur'an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid.

Typically, Muslims wake up early in the morning and have a small breakfast (as a sign of not being on a fast on that day), before attending a special Eid prayer (salah). Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes, new if possible, for the occasion.

Muslims all over Bulgaria are also celebrating Sunday. One of the largest celebrations is going got be held in the southern town of Madan, where there is a large Muslim population. The local mosque will offer free baklava and other sweets to about 1 500 people.

In neighboring Turkey, Eid ul-Fitr, known as both Ећeker BayramД± ("Bayram of Sweets") or Ramazan BayramД± ("Ramadan Bayram"), is a beloved public holiday. Schools and government offices are generally closed for the entire period of the celebrations. Until September 22, all travel on Turkey's highways is free while public transportation in Istanbul offers 50% discounts.

Turkish people attend prayer services, put on their best clothes - "BayramlД±k", often purchased just for the occasion and visit friends, relatives and neighbors. They also pay their respects to the deceased with organized visits to cemeteries. The first day of the Bayram is generally regarded as the most important, with all members of the family waking up early, and the men going to their neighborhood mosque for the special Bayram prayer.

People honor elderly citizens by kissing their right hand and placing it on one's forehead while wishing them Bayram greetings. It is also customary for young children to go around their neighborhood, door to door, and wish everyone a happy Bayram, for which they are awarded candy, chocolates, traditional sweets such as Baklava and Turkish Delight, or a small amount of money.

Municipalities all around the country organize fundraising events for the poor, in addition to public shows. Helping the less fortunate, ending past animosities and making up, organizing breakfasts and dinners for loved ones and putting together neighborhood celebrations are all part of the joyous occasion.

About 250,000 Turks are expected to travel on vacation to local resorts and abroad, mainly Prague, Paris, Croatia and Macedonia. Despite the recent tragedy at one of Macedonia's most popular tourist destination, when 15 Bulgarians drowned in the Ohrid lake after the tour boat they were on went under water, local tour operators say the number of Turkish tourist did not go down.



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Tags: Ramazan Bayrami, Bulgarian Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr, Sofia Mosque


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