The month of Ramadaan is coming to an end, and Muslims all around the world will be preparing for Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast). In the Cape, we lovingly call it labarang, a word derived from the Indonesian word lebaran which means holiday. Lunar months last either 29 or 30 days, so Muslims will have to wait until the 29th day to verify the date of Eid. On the night of the 29th, local moon sighters scan the horizon for the crescent moon – and if a new moon is visible, the next day will be Eid. If not, Muslims will fast for one more day to complete a 30-day month. Depending on the sighting of the moon, celebrations will most likely begin on Monday (2nd May) or Tuesday (3rd May).
How do Muslims celebrate?
This is a time for celebration, with Muslim-majority countries observing Eid for three days. The day starts with a morning prayer service, followed by a short sermon. It is customary to eat something sweet like a date or baked good. Some other things that Muslims do to celebrate include:
- Give and wear new clothes
- Share gifts
- Donate money or food to the poor
People offer congratulations to each other and share words of kindness and love. The rest of Eid is spent going from house to house, visiting relatives, friends, and neighbours. Tables are decorated with traditional desserts ranging from hertzoggies to sago pudding, koeksisters, and bollas. Kitchens become lively when Eid comes around, with pressure cookers screaming, pots of curry and stews simmering away, and hearty pies browning in the oven. Food is the love language of the Cape, and labarang is the time it is greatly expressed. Children dress up in new outfits and receive gifts and money from relatives and elders. Some families honour a tradition to visit graveyards and pay respects to those who have departed.
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How do you say ‘happy Eid’?
English – Have a Blessed Eid
Arabic – عيد مبارك
Spanish – Feliz Eid
Russian – С праздником Рамазан Хайит
Malay – Selamat Hari Raya
French – Bonne fête de l’aïd
Urdu – عید مبارک