"Religious Festivals - the Eid" Top 5 Page for this destination Sudan Travelogue by uglyscot

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Eid Prayers

As the end of Ramadan approaches, the woman of the house turns to the Eid preparations. A few decades ago this meant buying new clothes for the family and toys for the children, making cookies and cleaning the house thoroughly.The same preparations take place today, but at a different level.
People are expected to have new clothes to wear to the Eid prayers. In rural Sudan these are usually held in a wide open space where the men can place their prayer mats in rows. The women and children do the same but on the perimeter separated from the men.
Everyone has a shower and dresses in his/her finery .Those who stay at home preparing the breakfast will take advantage of an empty house to also have a bath and put on clean or new clothes before guests begin to arrive..

After the prayers people greet each other with the Eid greetings and wishing each other a happy new year with health/ success/ marriage/ a child or whatever is desired. Groups go off visiting friends and relatives, and are offered a drink and cookies.
In the past the cookies were of three types: for eating with tea in the morning , petit fours, and a sugar- dusted kind of shortbread [ kaak ]. A few days before the Eid the women and girls of the family would prepare the dough and shape the cookies on large baking trays to be baked in the oven at home or taken to a local bakery to be cooked. Today the variety of cookies has grown, and commercial enterprises now offer ready made cookies for the busy woman to buy. Even in the villages a wide variety of cookies are offered to guests- some with dates, coconut, coloured icing or decorated with sprinkles, as well as the traditional shortbread and tea biscuits. Sweets are also offered to guests, and likewise tins of chocolates and toffees are replacing the peppermints and boiled sweets of the past.

Cleaning the house before the Eid [whether for the end of Ramadan or Eid el Kabeer] is like the western ‘spring-cleaning’, where everything is thoroughly cleaned. In many houses the evening before the Eid would see the Furniture moved to make sure no dust remained underneath, lamps would be taken down and washed, windows and glass would be shined with newspaper; anything that could be cleaned was, until the house would be gleaming. In the villages, fresh sand would be sprinkled on the floor and dampened and smoothed down, or linoleum would be purchased and laid on the earth or tiles. Now most houses have t iles or cement floors covered with rugs, so cleaning them is also an easier task.
Nowadays in the large towns, as well as having a thorough clean , those who can afford it buy new furnishings and redecorate their homes. Those less well-off will definitely have the beds covered with new sheets, tables will have dainty mats or cloths and if possible new curtains will adorn the windows. All these preparations are done so that family and friends can celebrate a happy new year in clean and attractive surroundings.

The Eid el Kabeer needs similar preparations to be done- cleaning the house and buying new clothes. However the cookies are not compulsory although some people do make them.
At this Eid the attention is paid to eating meat. As indicated in a separate tip, a ram is slaughtered for each adult male over the days of the Eid. Some is used for the family meals, the rest is given to the poor and small heaps are given to friends and relatives.

The other important holiday is the Prophet Mohamed's birthday. I have written about this in my Cairo pages.
In Sudan in the days before the Mulid [the Birthday] people buy sweets, and men attend religious gatherings, usually held in open spaces where the different followings have stalls and recitals of Koran.

Another holiday , but without any special preparations or festivities, is the celebration of the Islamic New Year. It is an official holiday from work.

  • Page Updated Dec 10, 2008
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