Eid al-Fitr is a sacred Islamic religious holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The exact dates of Ramadan vary each year as it’s based on the Islamic lunar calendar. Eid al-Fitr begins with the sighting of the new moon at the end of the month of Ramadan.
Observed by Muslims around the world, Eid al-Fitr is a merry occasion, with festivities lasting anywhere from one to three days. Each country has its local traditions, but celebrations typically involve special prayer services held at mosques, visits between family and friends, and plenty of delicious feasts. Some people exchange gifts, while everyone is encouraged to perform Zakat al-Fitr, or charitable giving to help those in need and ensure everyone can take part in the celebrations.
From Morocco to Singapore, we look at some of the best places around the world to celebrate Eid al-Fitr this year.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is always a great place for a holiday, but it gets even more festive during Eid al-Fitr. You’ll find the most extravagant Eid celebrations here, from fireworks displays to restaurants putting on enormous buffets for Iftar, and the breaking of the fast at sunset.
For a truly unique experience, take part in the Dubai Opera Iftar. Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, you can break your fast with exquisite cuisine in the magical surroundings of the Dubai Opera. The chefs have curated an authentic Iftar buffet and you’ll enjoy your meal while listening to classical Arabic music as the live entertainment.
If you’re looking for different mosques to visit, be sure to head to the nearby Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. With more than 82 domes, 1,000 columns and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, this is one of the biggest and grandest mosques in the world.
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Known as “Hari Raya Aidilfitri” or “Hari Raya Puasa” in Singapore, Eid al-Fitr is a joyous time. It’s also one of the best times to visit Singapore, with incredible celebrations lighting up the Geylang Serai area, one of the oldest Malay settlements in Singapore.
You’ll find mouthwatering halal foods and bright lights and decorations in Geylang Serai. It’s a kaleidoscope of colour, with dozens of different types of lights and installations illuminating the streets. For festive dishes, head to the Bazaar, with hundreds of food stalls dishing up delicious traditional Malay foods to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
Outside of the Geylang Serai, there’s plenty to see, from the beautiful Arab Quarter and the gold-domed Sultan Mosque in the Kampong Gelam district, to the enchanting Gardens by the Bay.
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In Turkey, Eid al-Fitr is known as ‘Seker Bayram’ or Candy Festival. True to the name, there are lots of sweet treats during Ramadan celebrations such as baklava and Turkish delight, along with other traditional foods. You’ll also bask in hot, sunny weather with many locals flocking to the beautiful Turkish beaches to enjoy Eid al-Fitr festivities. From swimming to fishing to relaxing on the sandy shores, these are favourite spots for families to gather and relax.
During Ramadan and Eid, many residents and families visit their local mosques, and when in Istanbul, you can’t miss the chance to see the famous Blue Mosque or Sultan Mosque. If you’re visiting during the month of Ramadan in the lead-up to Eid al-Fitr, you can also wake up early and witness the Ramadan drummers performing at sunrise. They walk the streets to wake up residents for sahur, the last meal before fasting for the day.
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Morocco is one of the best places to celebrate Eid al-Fitr thanks to its unique cultural experiences. The country is famed for its vibrant cities like Fez, Casablanca, and Marrakech and they become even more alive at night during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
In Marrakech, the city’s main square, Djemaa el-Fna, buzzes with markets, entertainment and food stalls selling traditional foods. Families often fill the streets to break their fast together and enjoy iftar. In Casablanca, you can visit beautiful mosques such as the Hassan II Mosque and listen to religious talks or take part in prayers. The city of Fez is also a great place to visit during Ramadan. There are historic mosques, street markets selling food, and spiritual events throughout the month.
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If you want to experience tropical weather while celebrating Ramadan, Malaysia should be on your list. As a Muslim-majority country, Eid al-Fitr is a big affair in Malaysia, and you’ll find a warm and welcoming community that comes together to celebrate this important holiday. Known as Hari Raya, Eid is a time when millions of people travel back to their hometowns to be with family during the celebrations. Known as ‘balik kampung’, this is a time for feasting and friends.
In Kuala Lumpur, there are plenty of religious activities and bazaars and markets dishing up halal food where you can break the daily Ramadan fast with the local community. There’s also slamic architecture and mosques throughout the city and you can explore the Islamic Arts Museum, the largest museum of Islamic arts in South East Asia. Whether you want to enjoy a city break or jet off to the beaches of Penang and Langkawi, you’ll find your perfect blend of spirituality and relaxation during Eid in Malaysia.
Where will you celebrate Eid al-Fitr this year? Let us know in the comments below!