Millions in Egypt mark the end of Ramadan

World Today

Muslims around the world are taking part in festivities to mark the end of this year’s Ramadan. 

Yasser Hakim reports on how Egyptians are celebrating the holiday called Eid.

Starting at around five in the morning local time, millions of Egyptians head to mosques and outdoor prayer grounds that have been established around the country especially for this occasion.

The prayers are the main ritual in the Eid to mark the end of fasting and to show respect to the holy month that has just ended.

“For me Eid is fun,” said Cairo resident Mohamed Magdy.  “First of all, I go to congratulate my father, my mother and close relatives for the festive season. We finished the prayers. You know, after fasting and strict worship during the month of Ramadan, the reward is to enjoy Eid.”

A long time tradition for Eid is for children to wear brand new clothes.  They go to the parks and the river Nile to enjoy the day.  Naturally balloons, sweets and cookies are popular treats.

“It’s a time for fun,” said Cairo resident Safaa Aly.  “Everyone gathers to enjoy the Eid celebrations outside. Some of us make special cookies at home and share them with our friends.”

People come from neighboring countries to enjoy the atmosphere as well.

“Here all the families take their children out for the prayers and then the parks,” said Sayed Mansour, who is visiting Cairo from Sudan.  “In Sudan, not many women or old men go out. Unlike in Sudan, here the festival can be celebrated in the streets.”

Security has been beefed up to ensure there are no problems during the three days of celebrations.

Egypt’s main airline, Egyptair, said it had 248 flights carrying 15,000 passengers on the first day of Eid alone.  That’s a staggering 20 percent increase over a normal day’s traffic.

The three days of festivities are not marked only in the main cities like Cairo. Many Egyptians travel to their hometowns for a reunion with their families, while others head to the coastal cities and the Red Sea to enjoy the sun and beaches.