If Ramadhan stresses the religious aspect of Islam, Eid-Ul-Fitr stresses its social aspect, that is, the importance of giving to the poor and needy as
defined by the concept ‘asnaf’ (categories of people who qualify for the receipt of the religious tax)10. Hence Eid-Ul-Fitr in effect means the celebration following the payment of the obligatory charity called
‘fitrah’. It is the festival of charity. The poor, the orphans, the ailing are all remembered. On Eid day the Muslim gives generously. Sadness and suffering are relieved by kindness and love.
The morning ‘azan’ calls every Muslim, man and woman, to morning prayers. After ‘namaz’ everyone wears his best. The men preferably wear white ‘kurtas~11
with white pants and adorn themselves with ‘surma’ (kohl) and perfume. The white or coloured ‘topee’12 completes their costume. The women wear colourful ‘churidar’ and ‘shalwar~kameez with carefully decorated and
embroidered ‘hornis’ (shawls). Their hands are painstakingly decorated with ‘mehendi’ (henna). After taking a breakfast of ‘sheer korma’ or ‘sewaiye’, a special Eid preparation with milk, vermicelli, sugar, nuts and
flavourings, male adults proceed to attend special prayers at the mosque. The Eid prayer is a grand event for Muslims; everybody, dressed in his best, makes it a point to attend. The mosques are packed. The Eid
congregation is a touching sight of fraternal concord, equality and harmony, when rich and poor alike stand together in front of their Creator. The meeting helps to cement the bond of affection and brotherhood as
enjoined by Islam.
The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives and friends to exchange greetings. Eid is the occasion on which one can mend one’s fences without being
misunderstood in the spirit of ‘forgive and forget’ that characterizes the celebration of Lid-
Ul-Fitr. Parents are more indulgent towards their children who make the most of the occasion. They get new clothes and gifts of money from almost every
The rest of the day is spent joyfully as the radio station plays popular ‘quawwalis”, songs and ‘ghazaisPll and the television screens a film with a
Muslim cultural flavour. Eid is primarily celebrated within the family circle and most people prefer to entertain guests and friends at home. ‘Eid Mubarak’, everyone says in Urdu, ‘The blessings of Eid be with you’.
Lid is not complete without the star dish of ‘Biryani’16. In fact without Biryani, Eid would not taste like Eid to Mauritian Muslims. The Biryani is a
phenomenon originating from Persia. It attained delicate refinement in the hands of Mughal chefs to be passed on to Muslim households. Today the preparation of the Biryani forms part of the treasured rituals
transmitted from mother to daughter, from master to disciple. Every stage in the preparation of meat, vegetables, herbs and spices is given meticulous attention. The cooking, preferably in brass pots (‘degs’) and on
a wooden fire, is supervised with tender care. The result is a ‘palatial’ delight that defies description.