Eid ul-Fitr in Algeria
According to the belief of Muslims Eid ul-fitr is a gift to them from God for the fasts that they observed during the Holy month of Ramadan. About 99% of the population in Algeria follows the religion Islam. People in Algeria are impatient for the month of Ramadan to arrive and in its honor they gave a title to it called the ‘Sidna Ramadan’ Sidna means our master or owner. Eid and Fitr both are Arabic words and mean ‘festivity’ and ‘to break fast’ respectively so the term Eid ul-Fitr collectively means ‘festival of breaking the fast’. It is referred to as the small Eid, whereas, Eid ul-Adha, the celebration in the remembrance of the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim, is referred to as the Big Eid. Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first of Shawaal (that is the 10th month of the Islamic year), it’s a reward to Muslims for the patience they showed during the whole month of Ramadan in order to purify their souls and seek Allah’s forgiveness and blessings.
Traditions in Algeria
Eid is a three day commemoration and the Muslims all around the world celebrate it with great enthusiasm and joy. Also, in Algeria like most of the other Muslim countries, people spend an impressive amount of money on the preparations of this festive day, those who can afford, buy new clothes, accessories for themselves as well as for their families. Also people don’t forget their religious brothers who are poor on this happy occasion, but share their happy moments and help them, this is different to the charity (zaka’t) in Ramadan which is mandatory for all the privileged Muslims. There is a special Eid prayer on the morning of 1st of Shawaal which is held in open areas or spacious grounds and before the Eid prayer every Muslim who observed a fast has to give Sadqa tul Fitr to show his gratitude to Allah for being able to fast. After the prayer, friends and families have gatherings where they have soups and stews as appetizers, they exchange gifts and greeting cards, and enjoy the yummy food like cucumber and yoghurt soup, roasted stuffed lamb leg, potato and chick pea salad etc. Since Algeria is located in the North of Africa, the locality near the Mediterranean Sea is served with the seafood. Lamb or beef follows in the main course. The national food of Algeria is Couscous which is a form of pasta and the Algerians prefer chicken, fish or lamb put on a layer of couscous which is then to be covered with the cooked vegetables like carrots, beans etc. There is an interesting Algerian tradition, after the meal a fruit basket is kept on the table and everyone has to peel the fruits that they want to eat, however, on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr the hosts peel the fruits themselves and serve it to the guests, in fact not only is the fruit peeled but it is also flavored (spiced) and sliced as well.
These festivals create a bond between the people so that they are able to be a part of each other’s happy and joyous moments and help one another in their times of need.