Eid is upon us, and the celebrations are in full swing. For those who celebrate, this festival ends the gruelling month of fasting and gives way to a grand feast. While the basic rituals and traditions of Eid are the same across the Muslim world, there are some distinct differences in how it is celebrated in the Indian subcontinent.
One of the most significant differences in Eid celebrations in the Indian subcontinent is the food. Special dishes like biryani, sheer khurma, kebabs, and various sweets are prepared and served during Eid. The food varies from region to region, but there is always a focus on delicious, spicy dishes enjoyed with family and friends. In Russia, Manti is a popular savoury dish enjoyed during Eid. These dumplings are stuffed with seasoned meat and are a favourite among the Russian people. You Xiang is a popular fried patty made from flour, water, and yeast in China. It is either given as a gift or enjoyed as part of the Eid feast. In Bangladesh, Korma is a traditional dish enjoyed during Eid, along with various savoury pittas shared with family and friends.
The major difference in the food of Eid is how outside the Indian subcontinent, there is more focus on sweet treats. Sweet treats form an integral part of Eid celebrations in many countries, and different regions have unique delicacies enjoyed during this time.
Turkey In Turkey, Baklava and Turkish delight are classic sweet treats that are given as presents to friends, family, and neighbours during Eid, also known as Seker Bayrami in the country. These delectable sweets are enjoyed for their delicate layers of pastry, chopped nuts, and syrup.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia In Iraq and Saudi Arabia, dates hold great significance during Ramadan and Eid. They are a popular snack eaten at the pre-dawn meal before the fast, known as Suhoor. Kleichas, which are rose-flavoured biscuits filled with nuts and dates, are baked and considered the national cookie of both countries.
Yemen In Yemen, Bint al sahn is the preferred sweet treat. This honey cake is topped with nigella seeds and is popular for Eid celebrations.
The Indian subcontinent boasts a rich cultural heritage, which is beautifully reflected in the celebrations of Eid. The festivities here are not limited to religious observances but extend to an array of cultural events, such as music and dance performances, which add an enchanting charm to the celebrations. The vibrant displays of traditional arts and cultural performances truly reflect the region's rich and diverse cultural history.
Moreover, Eid celebrations in the Indian subcontinent are influenced by local culture, which results in unique and fascinating traditions. For instance, in Pakistan, kite flying has become an integral part of Eid festivities. The skies are filled with many colourful kites, and people compete to see whose kite can soar the highest. Such customs add to the joyous spirit of Eid, making it a truly special and unforgettable occasion for all.
In addition to the universal traditions, some delightfully quirky Eid customs are practised in various countries. One such unique tradition is observed in Afghanistan, where locals engage in a playful activity called Tokhm-Jangi. Hard-boiled eggs are painted and used in a food fight during this festive game. The objective is to smash your opponent's egg while keeping yours intact, and everyone participates in this fun activity with great enthusiasm. This playful tradition adds a lively touch to the Eid celebrations and brings people together in fun and camaraderie.