Giving eidiya persists as a tradition in the GCC

Updated 28 August 2013
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Giving eidiya persists as a tradition in the GCC

Distributing eidiya — money gifts to children during Eid — is a tradition throughout the GCC area. The amount differs from one family to another and some families do not only give children but the older generation as well.
Muslims start their Eid with a special prayer called Al-Mashhad. Families go to the nearest mosque and perform their prayers either indoors or outdoors. Traditional Muslims dress in their finest clothes usually newly bought or tailor-made especially for Eid.
“Eid prayer is the perfect opportunity for Muslims to ask Allah to accept our Ramadan fasting and thank him for Eid. We usually go in big groups to perform the prayer and bring our children along with us to share the happy moment,” said Mariam Mansi, a stay-at-home mother. “It is a beautiful scene where one can see a large number of people dressed in their best Eid clothing,” she added.
One of the most important Saudi traditions is Eid breakfast. Families gather with their nearest and dearest under one roof and eat traditional foods. “Usually the whole family meets at the grandfather’s house or at the eldest member of the family’s residency for Eid breakfast,” said 72-year-old Madiha Seif. “When I was younger we used to gather at my grandmother’s house. Now that I am the grandmother, all my grandchildren and my sister’s grandchildren visit me for Eid. We eat and talk for long hours,” she added.
Seif said after the breakfast and right before her guests leave, she starts distributing eidiya. “It is a long celebrated tradition where the older generation gives young ones money or expensive gifts, just like Christmas, only it is for Muslims,” she said. “One does not have to give a lot of money, I usually give SR100 for my grandchildren and SR500 for my children,” she added.
Eidiya are not only distributed after Eid breakfast. They can be given while going door-to-door to greet the neighbors and friends. Usually during Eid families are always ready to welcome family and friends anytime of the day where they pass by for a cup of Arabian coffee and chocolate. “We go around knocking on one door after the other to greet families and friends and celebrate Eid with them. You can always find them ready to welcome us with great hospitality,” said Nadia Abdulatif, a 39-year-old teacher. “Right before you leave, you will find your elder family member or friend giving your children an envelop with money or sometimes a golden coin,” she added.
Some Saudis also give eidiya for Eid Al-Adha, but they are most commonly given for Eid Al-Fitr.


History goes under the hammer as London celebrates Islamic art

Updated 27 April 2018
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History goes under the hammer as London celebrates Islamic art

  • Leading auction houses this week embarked on an 1,800-year artistic odyssey with treasures from across the region
  • A painting by the late Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said fetched the highest bid £633,000

LONDON: For aficionados of Middle Eastern art, London was the place to be this week. During the biannual Islamic Art Week, the big auction houses held sales of everything from antiquities to modern-art installations, with many works receiving well above their estimates.

Sotheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East on Tuesday featured two Saudi artists, Ahmed Mater and Maha Malluh, alongside works by  Morocco’s Farid Belkahia, Lebanon’s Paul Guiragossian, Iraq’s Shakir Hassan Al-Said and Syria’s Louai Kayali. A painting by the late Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said, often a record-setter at auctions of Arab art, fetched the highest bid: “Adam and Eve,” at £633,000 (it was estimated at £300,00-£500,000). 

The same day, Sotheby’s held the seventh season of its Orientalist Sale, with Edwin Lord Weeks’ painting “Rabat (The Red Gate)” drawing the highest bid at £573,000, above its estimate of £200,000-£300,000.

At Bonham’s, a pair of gold pendant earrings from the collection of Maharani Jindan Kaur, the mother of the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, sold for £175,000, eight times the original estimate. 

At Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World auction on Wednesday, an Iznik pottery flask raised the highest price, £669,000, well above the estimated £60,000-£80,000.

The Christie’s auction on Thursday featured Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, including Oriental rugs and carpets. A rare palimpsest of a Qur’an written over an earlier Coptic text, thought to be from Egypt and to date back to the second century, was bought for £596,750.