Ramadan is drawing to a close, the holiday of Eid up Fitr is coming...
How is the Eid holiday celebrated?
Eid ul Fitr is a very special holiday for Muslims marking the end of the month of fasting Ramadan. The two days are celebrated in different ways in different parts of the world by Muslims with different cultures but the basic format is the same.
- There are special prayers held at the mosques. Everyone is encouraged to join.
- People wear their best clothes and give each other gifts.
- People who have the means will give to the poor, with gifts of money, or items like clothing, food parcels etc.
- Celebratory meals are held, with families spending time together. Especially making an effort to see family members they might not normally see frequently as a part of their daily lives.
- Sweets are exchanged.
- Children are given gifts of toys or other appropriate gifts.
In Wadi Rum because Bedouin people usually own goats and sheep, then in the early morning the male "head" of the family will sacrifice a goat or sheep. The better the animal the better the blessings one receives from this sacrifice.
Most people will then prepare "magtota" for breakfast which is the inner organs of the animal and some of the meat, cooked in the animal fat and olive oil. The meat is cut up into small pieces and fried in the fat until cooked, tender and crunchy. Salt is added. Not necessarily but sometimes, mixed spices are added, sweet peppers or hot peppers. Sometimes this dish is prepared with tomatoes but not usually for the Eid breakfast. People will usually share this meal so a neighbour might be invited to pop around or other family members.
Lunch is usually prepared by early afternoon and this usually consists of "manseff". The meat is boiled in water, then "jameed" is added and the meat continues to boil in this soup until ready. Jameed is a kind of yogurt like sour milk. The meat and soup is served on large platters. Bedouin bread called shraak (like a large, thin, savoury pancake) is placed on the bottom, then a layer of rice, then the meat and soup spooned over the top. Again people will invite family members and/ or neighbours around for the meal. This is referred to as a "azoom" which basically means "calling" the people.
Dinner is usually the same, but could also be "kapseh" (especially on the second day when everyone has already eaten a lot of manseff!) which is the meat cooked with rice, spices, tomato puree and usually mixed vegetables. Again large amounts are prepared and people will be invited around. Dinner is served after sunset.
Over the Eid holiday because everyone is cooking for guests and being invited for meals what usually happens is a family who will go to visit people for lunch would prepare breakfast or dinner and invite people for that meal. This way no-one prepares three meals each day, so everyone gets to do some visiting and receiving! The holiday is two days and during this time everyone visits and catches up with family members they may not ordinarily see.
Women will usually wake up very early on the first day so they can clean the house and prepare for guests.
People will also pop around to see each other for short visits to drink some tea and have a chat.
Sweets are given out and children will often pop around to neighbours to congratulate them on the holiday and then will be given a handful of sweets.
How will the holiday affect my visit to Wadi Rum
For most people your visit will not be affected. However, we do ask if possible people arriving on the first day of the holiday (should be the 25th or 26th June) to please aim to arrive 12pm or later. This is so the guides can at least carry out the sacrifice in the morning for their families and then subsequent cooking can carry on regardless, even if they are not there as the meat has been prepared.
Insha'Allah see you all soon and wishing you all a blessed last week of Ramadan and Eid mubarak for the upcoming holiday...