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Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr Celebration

Many people decorate their houses for Eid. This is rather an odd thing, since no-one is sure when Eid is, until the last minute, and so decorations are put up very late on the last day of the month.

Everyone has new clothes for Eid. The last few nights of Ramadan it is almost impossible to get into the shops, as everyone is buying their clothes. A complete outfit is normal, right down to the shoes, and even the headscarves for the women.

On the morning of Eid, everyone gets up very early to go to the prayers. These are special prayers, held only at Eid. They are held only in very big mosques, or in large open areas, such as football stadiums. They are held about 80 minutes after sunrise, so in the summer months it is very early.

After the prayers everyone goes home to eat breakfast and then the celebrations really begin. It isnít common for children to receive gifts. Instead they receive money. The money should be in the form of a brand new bank note or coins. The amount given is small, usually in the region of about $3, but still they get plenty. Everyone who visits the children, or everyone whom they visit, gives then the gift of money. In a large extended family, with lots of friends, the children can end up with a small fortune!

Sometime around midmorning people start to go out visiting. They visit neighbors and friends in the morning. At each visit special cakes are eaten, and the children receive their money. The visits are very short as there are plenty to make. Dinner is spent with family. The traditional meal varies from country to country, the only standard thing being the special cakes. Each day of the holiday is spent with a different branch of the family, so that everyone gets visited. In the evening the visits start up again. This goes on for three days, but money is normally only given to the children on the first two days.

In between visiting, people make trips out into the streets. Many streets have a sort of fair going, with music, dancing, fireworks, kids' games and much more. Here the children get to spend their money. They buy candy, soft drinks, toys and rides. Everyone has great fun, and the children are always disappointed when it is over. The adults, on the other hand, are usually worn out and glad of the rest!

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