In pictures: Muslims in Kurdistan enjoy first day of Eid with early morning feast
By A.C. Robinson
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Many Muslims across the Kurdistan Region celebrated the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, or the post-fasting festival, with early morning prayers and feasts to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr, which lasts three days, differs from one tradition to another.
"I love Ramadan," Miriam Mohammed, a teacher at Sivan Primary School told Rudaw English. "Even if we had to celebrate and fast for more than one month, I would welcome it."
Several of Mohammed's family members began the first day of Eid al-Fitr just after 3 a.m. with Fajr prayer at the local mosque followed by a special prayer marking the first day of Eid, recitation from the Quran and a speech from the mullah, with worshipers then greeting each other with "Jazhnt Piroz" in Kurdish or "Eid Mubarak" in Arabic meaning "Happy Eid."
Upon returning home, following a different route than used to travel to the mosque for prayers as was practiced by the Prophet Muhammed, a large feast was ready to be enjoyed. This meal usually takes place from 6-7 a.m. and includes a variety of traditional dishes.
Mohammed's family relished their feast being similar to other Kurdish families.
Their meal included qaise, a sweetened apricot soup with walnuts, fasolia, a white bean stew in tomato sauce, dolma, or vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, squash, eggplant and grape leaves stuffed with rice and ground meat, broiled chicken, roasted lamb, and biryani, a seasoned rice with raisins and white rice.
The traditional yogurt drink, mastaw, is also served with the meal.
"Eid means a lot to me," Mohammed told Rudaw. "It's a very special day and the meal we prepared in the early morning was just amazing."
After finishing the Eid feast, family, friends and neighbors then visit each other's homes. Men and women wear traditional Kurdish clothing while children are dressed in brand new outfits bought for the special holiday.
Guests are often met with hot tea and special sweets called Kulicha, which is made especially for Eid. Kulicha is a sweetened pastry stuffed or covered with dates or walnuts with sugar and spices such as cinnamon added for flavor.
Adults also give children jazhnana, a gift of money and have candy or chocolate available for those who visit their homes with their parents.
In addition to the festivities of coming together to celebrate the first day of Eid, it is also custom for Muslims to visit cemeteries to pay their respects to loved ones they have lost.
The Eid al-Fitr holidays began locally on Thursday and end on Monday.
Photos by author