By Rim Elbelkacemi
By Rim Elbelkacemi
Rabat – Eid El fitr is the holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. One of the most anticipated holidays in the Muslim community, Eid El Fitr involves significant preparations.
In the days leading up to Eid El Fitr, Moroccan Souks are flooded with shoppers on the lookout for all of the necessities to make the holiday perfect. Here are five things Moroccans buy in preparation for the holiday:
Sweets and cookies
Food plays a major role in Moroccan culture and family life in general, so it is, of course, central in the celebration of any holiday. This holds especially true for Eid El Fitr since it is the holiday which symbolizes the light at the end of the tunnel after a long and difficult month of fasting and abstaining. Prior to the day of Eid, many families choose to prepare Moroccan cookies and pastries at home which can be quite tedious.
Most modern families, however, choose to buy cookies and sweets from a local patisserie or bakery, and those who crave homemade cookies, but just don’t have the time or skill to make them order sweets from local men and women who run home-based baking businesses.
Food to give away
Eid El-Fitr is not only a celebration, but it is also a chance for giving back and generosity. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and it is a tradition of alms-giving and charitable donations to those less fortunate, to ensure that even the poor have the means to enjoy the holiday. All heads of household are obligated to donate. Some choose to give away monetary donations while others choose to purchase food and give it away to people in need on behalf of each family member. The food usually takes the form of basic necessities and staples, such as wheat or flour.
It is very important that the houses during Eid are well decorated, cleaned, and scented in preparation for the many guests who are expected on this day. The burning of Moroccan incense is one of the oldest Eid traditions. Scents can have a big role in enhancing the ambiance of the house. They are geared specifically towards encouraging emotional reactions. They foster tranquility, calm the nervous system, and promote a sense of joy and energy. Incense is also believed to have spiritual proprieties in Moroccan culture.
Gifts for children
Although Moroccan holiday practices are not very commercialized and gift exchanges are not common, especially among adults, there are some traditional gifts given at Eid El Fitr. Many families observed a tradition of buying new clothes for their children. Children get much joy from this tradition. They spend the entire year anticipating the day when their parents take them out to pick out their “Eid clothes” which they will be wearing, and parading around. Some neighborhoods even collect donations to create a fund which will help children in needy families get new clothing as well.
As Eid El Fitr is a very special traditional occasion, everyone must dress up for it. In the week leading up to Eid El Fitr, people head to their favorite tailor or traditional clothing boutique to buy their jellabas, or kaftans, or any of the varied and colorful traditional Moroccan attire.
Edited By Elisabeth Myers