Eid al-Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri,a religious holiday which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, is celebrated by Muslims around the world and here, Agoda, one of the world’s fastest growing online travel agents shares seven ways in seven countries you can experience Hari Raya Aidilfitri around the world!
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Where to go / What to do: Visit Iftar @ Kuala Lumpur at Dataran Merdeka and be surrounded by scenic views of the historical Sultan Abdul Samad Building and other colonial structures
Where to stay: Ramada Suites Kuala Lumpur City Centre
While in some counties it is a fairly toned down affair, in Malaysia the Hari Raya celebration calls for two days of public holidays and up to a month of festive celebrations. In fact, when Raya rolls around, the country typically experiences what some call ‘the great Hari Raya Exodus’, where millions of city folk make the annual pilgrimage back to their hometowns to be with loved ones for the festivities, a tradition also known as ‘balik kampung’.
During this period, houses will be opened to guests and the endless feasting commences. So if you’re lucky enough to score an invite, that’s certainly something not to be missed! In the lead up to Hari Raya, be sure to check out Iftar @ Kuala Lumpur, a unique event where visitors are invited to end their daily Ramadan fast together at one of the busiest streets in the city. There will also be religious activities taking place that will give visitors a glimpse of the beauty of Islam.
2. London, United Kingdom
Where to go / What to do: Eid Festival 2019, feast on goodies from Middle Eastern eateries at London’s multicultural Edgware Road
Where to stay: The Pilgrm, 10 minutes’ walk from Edgware Road, featuring old world design and a vintage charm
Although Eid al-Fitr isn’t a public holiday in London, the celebration is still a big affair for many Muslims there. The day starts with prayer in the morning, followed by visiting or hosting family and friends over traditional meals. Travelers can partake in the festivities at the annual Eid Festival at Trafalgar Square, where they can enjoy an afternoon of exciting performances, fun for the family and of course, food from different countries on Saturday, June 8, 12-6pm!
3. New York, America
Where to go / What to do: Empire State Building Tower Light-up, Islamic Cultural Center, Museum of the City of New York
Where to stay: Arthouse Hotel in the Upper West Side, featuring cosmopolitan architecture
There is much to do in New York to mark the end of Ramadan – Start your day visiting New York’s largest mosque, the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, where services are held throughout the day. Families can carry on to the Museum of the City of New York and get to know Muslim cultural traditions through local artists and art collections, or get a fun henna tattoo for the kids. Keep a look out for the Empire State Building at night, which is typically lit green to celebrate Eid al-Fitr during the season.
4. Istanbul, Turkey
Where to go / What to do: Bring a picnic basket of sweets and goodies to break fast with the crowds between The Hagia Sophia and iconic Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square
Where to stay: Ajwa Hotel, where you can indulge in a traditional Hammam (Turkish Bath) at the in-house spa
If you’re lucky, during the month leading up to Eid al-Fitr, you might spot Ramadan drummers performing at the break of dawn along the streets as they wake residents up for sahur, the last meal before a day of fasting.
After the month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr is also known as ‘Seker Bayram’ or Candy Festival in Turkey, as celebrations will feature several rounds of sugary sweet treats such as baklava. In fact, people are ancouraged to have sweets for breakfast! Get your Turkish delight as you celebrate like a local.
5. United Arab Emirates
Where to go / What to do: Iftar at Dubai Opera, special activities at IMG Worlds of Adventures
Where to stay: Have fun with the family at Atlantis the Palm Dubai, which houses a 170,000 sqm themed amustment park and a water park
The Emiratis treasure time spent with loved ones during Eid, especially over sumptuous food. In the lead up to Eid, join other Muslim families for Iftar, the breaking of fast at sunset, with a visit to the Dubai Opera for a unique experience combining exquisite Arabic cuisine and live music.
Family and friends can also enjoy a thrilling time at one of the world’s largest indoor theme parks, IMG Worlds of Adventures, where it will be decorated in a traditional Arabic theme and offer special activities just for the season.
6. Saudi Arabia
Where to go / What to do: Annual Eid Festival, enjoy the festivities at the coastal area of Jeddah Corniche and Al Balad (Old town)
Where to stay: Be near the action and the famous Red Sea shore at Raddison Blu Hotel, Jeddah Corniche
It is a Saudi Arabian custom for families to gather at the house of the eldest male in the family after the morning prayers on Eid al-Fitr. Prior to the special lunch being served, the children will present themselves in new clothes in front of the adults who will give them Eid money. Families then enjoy visiting the theaters, catching fireworks, or stage performances to continue the celebration.
In the heart of downtown Balad, travellers can take part in the festivities at the Historic Jeddah Festival for a nostalgic glimpse into how Eid was in the old days. Check out interactive art features or listen to the Hakawati (storytellers) narrate accounts of how Hijazi families spent their Eid once upon a time.
7. Srinagar, Kashmir
Where to go / What to do: Sail along the famous Dal Lake and stop at Hazratbal Mosque, before feasting at Lal Chowk food street
Where to stay: New Golden Flower Heritage Houseboat
The biggest congregation of Eid prayer gatherings Srinagar is typically at the Hazratbal, the shrine said to house the holy relic of Prophet Muhammed. On the morning of Eid al-Fitr, something sweet is eaten for breakfast such as sheer kurma or seviyan (vermicili pudding with milk, water and nuts), accompanied by kahwah, a local tea brewed from special green tea leaves and strands of Kashmiri saffron, garnished with dried fruits and nuts. Sample local cuisine including Kashmiri naan, kebabs, kahwah, noon chai (pink colour salty tea) and the likes along Lal Chowk, Kashmir’s famous food street.
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