Monday, October 23, 2006

Eid El Fitr in Libya (Updated with photos)

It's 8.10 am and it's Eid a Fitr here in Libya . Ramadan has officially ended last night and I'm joyfull that once again I have been blessed to enjoy the Eid with my parents and family. Alhamdulilah ya Rab.

So feeling so warm and fuzzy I decided to write to you a little about Eid here before I go wear my nice outdoor clothes in readiness for all the guests , but also in reply to special requests by NBA and Twosret, and for anyone missing Libya :).

First NBA who wanted to know my opinion on 'suffering' in Ramadan while waiting for the Eid as related to this post by Syrian blogger Abufares, who says "Less than a week to go before Eid Al-Fitr ushers Ramadan away. This is a 3-day celebration after the one month of fasting. Eid simply means Holiday and the word Fitr is the antonym of Seyam (Fasting). So an approximate translation is the "Holiday of the Breaking of the Fast = Holiday of Eating".Indeed many people start eating with a vengeance. There will be one feast per day for three consecutive days. ".
Abufares is such a talented blogger , go check his blog and you will enjoy his dishes and stories about Syria, he is an ex- airline pilot too.

To answer your question, NBA, no I don't particularly suffer during Ramadan, I love it! I am not impatient or antisocial like Abufares is saying many fasting people are ( those are mostly heavy coffee drinkers and smokers I would guess). I think I'm more active as I don't worry about food and my mum can't nag me to finish my plate :P .
However, Abufares did bring up an important note : "The truth of the matter is that the last week of Ramadan for all the fasting kids (and on this point I'm still a kid) goes by very slowly. Time seems to stand still."

In Libya we describe this as follows : The first 10 days flow easily , the 10 middle days are OK, and the last 10 days of Ramadan 'salalat liglub'i.e. they are torture and drag endlessly. This is my rough translation - so any input of the original in Libyan are welcome, and I guess it means that some people unlike me do suffer from fasting ;)

I hope that answered your question NBA, as for Twosret, she wished to know what we do for the Eid and if it was similar than what the Muslims experience in Egypt? (Egyptians can share with us here ).

Eid El Fitr is my favourite Muslim feast, and it is one of the most important in the Muslim calendar, on a par with Christmas, it is not an orgy of food at least not in Libya . It is more of a time to put feuds and misunderstandings aside and thank God for his blessings. It is the time to forgive and be forgiven by friends and family . In brief it is a time to start a new leaf , turn the page and clean one's heart and soul in a process which started in Ramadan with the discipline of fasting. This is the real meaning of the Eid and Ramadan and this is what I strive for. My own jihad.

In Libya , people buy new clothes, shoes and toys for the children ; check Khadijateri here same as Leilouta recalled in Tunis and all over the Muslim world. Adults also buy new clothes but it is not really a must. Clean , well pressed would do just as well. We make the halawat el Eid , or Eid sweets, such as magrud ( date filled cookies) , graiba ( butter cookies) , baklawa and ca3k ( plain cookies ) - check all recipes here.

We stock on soft drinks and sweets and chocolate too for the kids and the visitors.
Above magrud and graiba, and on the left baklawa. These are my mum's homemade Eid sweets.

I love waking in the early morning to the lilting and poweful Takbir coming from the nearby mosque:

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,
laa ilaha illallah,
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar
wa lillahil-hamd

wa subhan Allah
wa alhamdu lilah
wa la hawla wala kowata illa bilah

God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest
There is no deity but [the One] God
God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest
and to God goes all praise etc...

I love the Eid mostly for this part because of its immense effect in transplanting me to the times of the Blessed Prophet Mohamed . It reminds me of the most joyous moment, his triumphant entry in Mecca .

On entering Mecca the Takbir was recited by the Muslims, and when I hear it on the Eid I am so overwhelmed that my skin tingles and my heart squeezes and I feel the faith being renewed in my soul.

So people hear the Takbir and proceed to the mosque in the finest clothes for the Eid prayer. In Libya it is mostly the men who go to the Eid prayer. I watch them from my window ( facing the mosque) flocking from all the neighbourhood in droves , most dress in Libyan traditional clothes . But I see also many many non-Libyan and non- Arab foreigners and they all look united under one banner , Islam and thanking God. When I see that I still have hopes for our nation and I am reminded of this verse.

"When comes the Help of Allah, and victory, and thou dost see the people enter Allah's Religion in crowds, celebrate the Praises of thy Lord, and pray for His forgiveness: for His is Oft-Returning (in forgiveness). (AN-Nasr:1-3) ".

I can smell the dust and hear the sound of the horses hooves ....

The Takbir continues until it is time for prayer and as many participants have congregated .
"The Eid prayer (salah) is followed by the khutba (sermon) and then a prayer (dua') asking for forgiveness, mercy and help for the plight of Muslims across the world. It is then customary to embrace the persons sitting on either side of you as well as your relatives, friends and acquaintances.
Muslims spend the day thanking the Creator for all their blessings, as well as just having fun and enjoying themselves. Children are normally given gifts or money. Women (particularly relations) are normally given special gifts by their loved ones. Eid is also the time for reconciliations. Feuds or disputes, especially between family members, are often settled on Eid" [ref].

Children are also taken to the playground and entertainment parks and are given gifts of money too. I remember when my uncle gave me 10 Dinars 20 years ago! It was a treasure for me as 1 Dinar would have been more than enough. I ran to ask dad if I should accept this fortune or not , and he told me "it's Eid sweetie , it's ok take your uncle's gift " .We also visit friends and family and we call loved ones to wish them happy Eid.
Nowadays we also get text messages on the mobile . It is a time to strenghten the umbilical cord and rebuild the bridges that may have been burnt down. I am so sorry though that my grandmother is no longer with us , as I loved going to my granpa's house and eating the ftira with honey she would prepare in the morning for us and her unique tea. The Eid is also the time to go visit the tombs of our beloved and pray for them.

Final check ( not in any particular order)

(1) Money for the kids = yes ready
(2) bowls of sweets = yes
(3) house clean = yes
(4) clothes ready = yes
(5) drinks and tea and cakes = yes
(6) Did I kiss mum and dad = yes
(7) Prayers done = yes

I am of course most grateful for those of you Muslim and non-Muslim who made a special effort to find Eid cards and email them to me. That was so touching and I appreciate it. Because as I said Eid is very important to us Muslims and this Eid has a special meaning for me. So a big hug to each one from me here in Tripoli.

OK then let me go make myself pretty , call my friends and family and check my zillions of mobile messages !

To all Libyan and non - Libyan bloggers, friends and family
عيد مبروك علينا وعليكم و انشاء الله عايدين فايزين


Non-Blogging said...

A very thorough and personal post, thanks a lot for it!



P.S. Pay attention to the cat. She might try to escape in the midst of the loads of visitors ;-).

S.Hamid said...


Anonymous said...

Kul sana wa enti taiba, happy eid to you and your family, and sure i'll try to eat as less Bakhlwaa as possible, i'm trying to lose weight girl;)!!

Anonymous said...

Aslam Alekom Wa Rahmatallh, a breat post thenk you very much and Eid Mubarek on you and your family.

Omar Gheriani said...

A beautiful and thorough picture. A Happy and Mabrouk Eid for you and all your family.

Akram said...

Eid Mubarak :)

Anonymous said...

aid mabrouk ou snin daima;)
mes voeux de bonheur et de félicité;)

tu nous manques sur

1 said...

Kul sana wa enti taiba H.

Anonymous said...

thank you highlander for putting it so well, I do miss Ramadan and Eid in Libya, its just not the same here in London but we do try and keep some of the traditions, tomorrow the Libyan community will have an Eid party at the Regents Park Mosque and this is usually the only day of the year I get to wear my full traditional Libyan outfit, i cant wait!
Eid Mubarak to you and all of your family.

white african said...

wow highlander you put that so well and brought back memeories for me.

thanks for that hope you enjoyed eid, and may you see many more inshallah

غازي القبلاوي Ghazi Gheblawi said...

wish ahappy eid, full of peace and joy

Anonymous said...

Happy Eid, Highlander :)

Hannibal said...

Highlander: Eidik mabrouk :)

Anonymous said...

heu, bonne fête alors

Desert Rose said...

Happy Eid Highlander !

Hiba said...

HaPpY EiD FoR You AlL
كل عيد وأنتم بألف خير وعافية وسلامة
وسعادة مع كل من تحبون

عيدكم مبروك

EiDkUm MaBrOk


Anonymous said...

Happy Eid from the other corner of the world.

Anonymous said...

A guy that is working for me managed to get himself sick during Ramadan. Not sure what's up, but he claims to feel weak all the time, has been to the doctor's and the doctor told him to take a few days off and prescribed some medicine.

Twosret said...

Happy Eid and thank you so much for the lovely post.

Lebeeya said...

Eid Mubarak!

Anonymous said...

save me some of your nice pastries

1 said...

Man highlander, why did u put pictures of the baklawa up their. Do u do this to torture me.

Anonymous said...

Kul 3aam Wanti Bekayer Highlander! Eid Mabrouk to you & all the family.


Lebeeya said...

ohhh magrood and baklawa! I want!!

Mckenzie said...

Okay, H, you asked why I like your blog a while ago. I've narrowed it down! Your blog teaches me a lot about a culture I have known little about, and I appreciate that a lot.

Sandi said...

That was a beautiful post! I learn alot from the Libyan posts. My sister always tried to explain Muslim faith to me, but there was really no time, and I was closed to listen. I am learning, and see the beauty of your faith. Thanks for sharing.

Highlander said...

NBA, S. Hamid, Maiuna, Salaheldin,Gheriani, A.Adam, Adib, LW, Anglo Libyan, White African, Ghazi, Programmer_Craig, Hannibal,Nomad, Trabilsia, Twosret, Lovelytripoli, REdenclave, Lebeeya, 7mada, Summerschild and Sandi :)
I am overwhelmed by your good wishes and the lovely feelings generated here. I confess that I gained 2kg in 3 days :P now I need to hit the gym. I wish you too health and success.

Schlemazl :) I'm not sure what's up with your colleague ? maybe he truely has some illness in that case he does not have to fast and can feed a poor person for the days he missed instead. God does not want to make us sick he has given us a way out if we are truely incapable of fasting . What would be the point otherwise. Also if your colleague is careful to eat well at dawn he will have energy during the day . What time is sunset in Canada by the way ?

7mada glad to see you here my friend , pls get that blog back.

Sandi and Summers I am so happy that my posts are useful to you ladies. That warms my heart.

Unknown said...


Your comment on one my posts meant so much to me. It introduced me to your wonderful blog. I'm glad I found it and I'll hang around.
Again, thank you.

Highlander said...

Hi Abufares,

You are welcome to my blog. I found yours enriching and I'm sure everyone would. I've been to Syrian many times , but only to Damas, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. I think Tartous should be my next step in the future.

Honey Pot said...

This was a great post full of interesting facts about Ramadan and Eid. Not being of the muslim faith, this stuff interests me very much!
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