Dubai: The first day of Eid Al Fitr is a joyful celebration that brings Muslim families together. In order to learn how they celebrate Gulf News joined a family during its Eid festivities.
The Sharjah-based Al Khalil family, which consists of father Faisal, mother Khowla and their five children, invited readers to experience the Eid customs of a typical Palestinian family.
Khowla, who is a stay-at-home-mother, started preparations for the day three days ago by making Eid date cookies. (Ma’moul)
“Usually making the Eid cookies is a family affair where the women in the family gather together and make the cookies together while exchanging recipes. This year, however, because Eid fell in the summer most of the women were not in the country so I made all the cookies myself,” she said.
Eid started for the Al Khalil family at 8.30am when Khowla’s older brother and his family visited after completing his Eid prayers. By the time Gulf News visited the family at 10.30am, five families had already visited the Al Khalils.
Baha Al Khalil, 25, one of Khowla and Faisal’s sons, told Gulf News that because his father is the eldest son in the family it is customary in the Palestinian culture for the younger brother to visit him first.
Diya Al Khalil, another son, added that according to their culture all the young people in the family visit the elders in the morning and all the elders visit each other in the afternoon. Also those who visit come without invitation.
“My favourite thing about Eid is that it brings all the family together,” said Khowla, when asked if all the visitors coming after each other without being invited can be tiring.
She said: “I am happy with the gathering of all my loved ones, if I am happy I do not feel tired.”
Buying new clothes for children and distributing Eid money (Eidyah) for the young children in the family is one of the key aspects that make children love Eid.
Sana Ahmad, a relative of the Al Khalil family who was visiting at the time, said that her children use the Eid money to buy toys and sweets. They are also encouraged to save part of their money and compete to see who has the most money.
Also part of the Al Khailil family Eid customs is to visit the cemetery after Eid prayers and read the Quran for family members who have passed away. This Eid day in the life of the Al Khalil family is a typical Palestinian tradition that somehow resembles Eid traditions in other Arab countries.