How should Eid Al Fitr be celebrated? Is this a festivity only for Muslims?
Interpretations may vary but I believe, the Kingdom of Bahrain sets a perfect example.
You could almost substitute the words ‘Christmas,’ ‘Diwali,’ ‘Yam Kippur’ or ‘Buddha Poornima’ to ‘Eid Al Fitr,’ ‘Eid Al Adha’ or ‘Eid Al Milad’ and you would find the same festive spirit.
Whether announced the previous night or in the morning or by default at the end of the 30th day (if the Eid Crescent is not sighted), Eid Al Fitr begins with early morning prayers, some of which are attended by even non-Muslims.
The fast, which officially ends with the Holy Month is broken and then people move about greeting the leaders, businesses, colleagues, relatives and friends.
In Bahrain, it is customary for the King to receive thousands of residents, diplomats and visitors at his palace to exchange greetings in the presence of other members of the Ruling Family. This is also an opportunity for people to meet each other.
Mosques, public and private buildings, parks and gardens wear a festive look, with colourful lights as men, women and children, resplendent in their new attire engage themselves in family gatherings at lunch. Indian clubs and associations, like their Arabic and European counterparts, organise special programmes, often flying in well-known artistes from India, while hotels and other local bodies organise entertainment with popular Arabic singers and dancers. Television programmes extol the values of the society and the oneness of the family with special items for children.
The second day of Eid Al Fitr is spent visiting friends, exchanging good wishes and promoting the spirit of commonality, while the third and final day is devoted to self and immediate family. There is little scope or time for anything other than happiness.
It is also customary for the King to pardon a number of criminals and order the release of a number of prisoners. I have known many cases wherein those emerging from the confines of the state reform themselves and integrate into the main social fabric.
That, I believe is the true spirit of Islam and Eid Al Fitr: to forgive when asked to be forgiven and to forget, even when not asked. To forget the wrong doing of the other is a quality that is promoted in the mood of Eid, provided of course, there is a true sense of atonement on the part of the latter.
Indian Newslink is a newspaper that believes in the inherent goodness of mankind; that man-made differences should be swept aside to foster the spirit of oneness, which is indeed the spirit of Eid Al Fitr.
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