Friday, September 10, 2010

Eid in Mauritius

The Eid-ul-Fitr or commonly the Eid day is celebrated in Mauritius at a national level. The country is a very harmonious one where all religions contribute to the peace living and friendship amongst its inhabitants. Unlike other countries where religious celebrations are enjoyed only in the families and religious circles, it is not uncommon to find many persons of other religious helping around or wishing and celebrating together the religious celebrations of others in Mauritius. This is what makes Mauritius an exception among all nations of this world. 

Arab or Islamic states with a majority of muslims celebrate nationally the Eid celebrations, whereas in countries like France, the Eid celebration is restricted to the muslim households. But in Mauritius, The religions are present in all spheres of life and the cultural diversity is what contributes to uniqueness of this island.

Also, the Eid celebration is not alike anywhere around the globe due to the cultural diversity. The culture of migrants of india, pakistan, bangladesh, europe and african countries are mixed together. 

Here is typically how Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated in Mauritius:
The Eid celebration is dependent of the sight of the moon. Thus at the 29th night of Ramadan, people look out for the moon at the sunset. If the moon is to be seen, the mosques around the island would blow a horn for about 2-3 minutes, so that everyone is aware that the next day will be Eid day. In case the moon is not seen, the persons will have to fast on the 30th of Ramadan. And on the night the moon is not seen, the tarawee prayer will be read at night as throughout the whole month of Ramadan. The Moon whether is seen or not on the 30th night does not matter then. Since there are only 30 days maximum in a month, the Eid is celebrated the next day. 

However, due to the different schools of thoughts, some people prefer to follow the Arab countries and European ones who celebrated together. The Arab and European countries typically start to fast one day before Mauritius and when we reach 29th Roza, they are already on the 30th roza. Some start roza together with arab countries and celebrate Eid together too. Some go along most of the Mauritians. Some years, the Eid celebrations coincide locally and internationally.

In Mauritius, the Eid day is announced on the news and on the local TV channels.

On the Eid day, the muslims take a shower, or known as the russal of Eid. They go to the mosque or to an Eid gah. The Eid gah is an open place, in a garden or anywhere big enough to accomodate people for a prayer. The government is very helpful always in allocating those spaces. However, most muslims still go to mosques. The swalaat-ul-Eid or Eid prayer consists of 2 parts, namely the prayer and khutba. The prayer is performed at the beginning and the khutba comes just after. The khutba is a sermon to the people assisting the ceremony. The imaam or maulana (typically a learned person who conducts the prayer) talk about family, life, or any subject of concern. 
Once the khutba is over, the persons can celebrate and wish Eid mubarak to the other persons at the mosque. The men and women go back home to celebrate Eid with their family. The neighbours go around the houses to wish Eid mubarak to each other. The Lunch is celebrated at home and the Diner at in laws. This is typically how it goes about. The families arrange themselves to take lunch or dinner at in laws. The lunch and diner are mostly special moments where the whole family gets to meet and are often served the bryani. The bryani is a special plate with a lot of spices, rice, potato, chicken or lamb or meat and vegetables.

This is a typical Eid celebration in Mauritius :) It is like nowhere else on this planet . . ;)

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