The Muslim celebration of Eid is one of the most important religious occasions in the Islamic calendar and is a time of festivity in The Maldives. Here Ruth, our in-country partner, describes what happens during Eid Ul Al’haa occurring every year after the Hajj pilgrimage.
The festival of Eid Ul Al’haa is celebrated throughout the Islamic world and the Maldives is no exception. Cultural events, feasts and the gathering of local communities makes Eid a memorable occasion. Islanders across the Maldives will travel with their family to celebrate, some escaping from the heat of the capital to their island homes and others to visit friends and family located on other local islands.
Eid Ul Al’haa comes after a period of 10 days which are more holy than the days of Ramadan and signifies the end of the Holy month when Muslims are completing the Hajj. The day itself begins with an early morning Eid Prayer which is often a congregational event with the mosque over flowing with worshippers
After breakfast, teenagers and youths will gather in groups for ‘fenkulhi’. Small packets of water mixed with coloured oil will be thrown at people who are playing. Bystanders easily get caught up as the groups run through the island running amok in a colourful version of ‘tag’!
For the athletic there will be a Bokuraa Race. A bokuraa is a small boat with a capacity of 5-7 people. In some islands a bohkuraa is still used for reef fishing but with updated fishing vessels it is very rarely seen. Two people will row the bohkuraa in the lagoon or harbor of the island and it’s a race to the finish in front of a cheering crowd!
Each household will prepare an abundance of tasty food inviting neighbors, family and friends to dine at their home. Traditional sports, music and dance will fill the afternoon and into the evening. For this festival age does not matter. Old people, youths and women will celebrate this colorful holiday with fun and laughter.