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How Yemenis Celebrated Eid; Different Customs and Practices
  Written By: Abdul Rahim Al-Showthabi (YEMEN POST STAFF) 
  Article Date:
October 06, 2008



Regardless of the similarity of Eid customs among Muslims in Arab and Islamic countries, every country and community has its own customs. However, visiting friends, relatives, and neighbors, and paying respect to the deceased are nearly similar in all Arab and Muslim countries as they were inherited from their religious backgrounds.

Eid customs in Yemen are distinguished from other places. A week before Eid, people start to bid Ramadan farewell by chanting, “Farewell, farewell O Ramadan”.

Meanwhile, children in rural areas busy themselves with collecting firewood to use the night before Eid, where they are lighted up on roof tops welcoming Eid.

Although, houses are always arranged, housewives in villages prepare their houses in a better way to receive relatives and guests during and after Eid.

On the eve of Eid, young girls as well as ladies decorate their hands with Henna (substance used for dying and has a red color). Boys start playing with fireworks and make flames, which is considered a means for showing their happiness and merriment. "My young children always light up fireworks when Eid is announced by the media" said 35 years old and father of four Thabet Gaid Aubad.

In the early morning of Eid, people start putting on their best clothes, go to the Mosque to pray, and visit their loved ones, friends, relatives and neighbors.

Traditionally, young children go door to door, and wish everyone a happy Eid, while in return they are awarded a small amount of money, cake, and sweets by neighbors and friends. Also; it is regarded essential to honor elderly citizens by kissing them on the forehead while wishing them a happy Eid.

As the happiness continues, nearly every family slaughters a sheep on the occasion. However, helping the disadvantaged, ending past animosities with others, solving problems, and putting together neighborhood celebrations are some of the many village customs that are followed.

In the meantime, people in cities make trips to places where their children can have fun and enjoy themselves by playing games and activities. In the meantime, children take pleasure in spending money on Eid when buying more candy, juice, and toys.

Children feel the most upset when Eid days come to an end, while adults are usually glad when Eid ends as it cost them lots of money.

As part of adult entertaining, men take their machine guns and go shoot at marked goals for fun and competition on Eid morning. In addition, men meet in the afternoons in qat sessions as women also meet to make cakes, cookies, nut desserts, and other sweet dishes.

Yemeni people, whether in cities or villages, consider Eid days an excellent opportunity for wedding marriages or getting engaged. Consequently, married couples remember such occasions as a double enjoyment.

Incorrectly viewing Eid as an occasion to overbuy numerous things, many Yemenis, not only those living in villages but also in cities, face difficult financial situations. "My salary is not enough to buy my kids clothes and house requirements let alone purchasing a sheep and giving money to female relatives when visiting them" said 42 years old Mohamed Saleh Al-Mahnashi, a father of 12.

Conversely in today's world, where social values have changed, the level of responsibility and security has loosened. More unfortunately, poor people cannot lean on richer ones. Unfortunately, the government has not yet developed a social security process that could fulfill the needs of vulnerable citizens.

For Muslims, Eid is considered a welcomed guest, which comes only twice a year. However, it is not only an occasion of eating and drinking, but also a considerable time when people do important deeds such as forgiveness, tolerance, and reinforcing ties of kinship among families and helping the poor and those in need.