Another beautiful Ramadan is over. After a month of self-restraint, sweetly exhilarating Iftars, delicious food and festivities, the equally glorious Eid Al Fitr is here to put a splendid end to the month.
More than 1.6 billion Muslims from East to West will wake up with joy before sunrise on Eid, gather in mosques to give thanks to God and start a three-day journey of joyous celebrations and bonding.
Children will put on their newest clothes and join their parents for family visits. In every house visited, delicious sweets will be ready as children rush to get their Eid allowances from every adult they set their sights on.
Municipalities will organise activities, celebrations and host feasts for thousands.
Although similar in nature, different countries have different customs in the way they celebrate this time of the year and these differences reflect on their palate as well.
Palestinians love cookies made with almond and pine nuts, while Muslims of Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan and India indulge in sweet vermicelli known as seviyan.
Turks love their baklava, but don’t stop short at other traditional sweets, which are almost endless in their variety.
Bahrainis prepare their most favourite; the halwa, a special combination of cornstarch, saffron, sugar, nuts, rose water and ghee as they celebrate with family and friends.
In a nod to the character of this festival that promotes love and brotherhood, the food and sweet dishes prepared will be presented to everyone in the community.
However, in a more quiet and subtle manner, people will be working to meet the needs of the less privileged and make sure that no one spends Eid with nothing less than the utmost joy.
In the meantime, fresh from family visits, children will begin knocking on every door in their neighbourhoods to be treated to either sweets or pocket money.
No matter how much things change, the beautiful atmosphere of Eid always remains the same.
Despite passing centuries and generations, despite the changing cities and faces, sweetness and warmth of Ramadan and its companion Eid bravely stand the test of time, and defy the alienating force of modern life.
Ramadans and Eid help rebuild bonds weakened by year-long estrangement brought upon by the Internet and television. For three days, families and friends will be visited, old resentments will be forgotten, and the poor will be given extra attention.
However, as we celebrate and enjoy the beautiful spirit of Eid Al Fitr, we will most certainly be thinking about, praying for and working to help our brothers and sisters in various parts of the Islamic world who will not be able to enjoy Eid as much.
In Syria, Afghanistan, Rakhine state of Myanmar, Yemen, Iraq and many other regions, Muslims will instead be dealing with death, injuries, bombs and forced deportations.
God wants Muslims to be united and love each other; He warns us that unless we do that, upheaval and trouble will be inevitable in the world.
For this reason, it is crucial that every Muslim takes it upon themselves to work towards achieving love and brotherhood in the world.
Let’s all pray together that this Eid Al Fitr will be a step towards the peace and love our world so urgently needs.