Eid in Saudi Arabia’s Hijaz region marked by family reunions

1 / 2
It is a tradition in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah for families and friends to visit each other and convey congratulations on the happy occasion of Eid. This can go on for up to six days. (Photo Supplied)
2 / 2
It is a tradition in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah for families and friends to visit each other and convey congratulations on the happy occasion of Eid. This can go on for up to six days. (Photo Supplied)
Updated 04 June 2019

Eid in Saudi Arabia’s Hijaz region marked by family reunions

  • The Saudi region bustles with life as it celebrates in its own way

JEDDAH: For years, families native to Saudi Arabia’s Hijaz region have observed Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr celebrations in their own special way, keeping traditions alive from one generation to the next. As the holy fasting month comes to a close, Eid customs come alive.

Natives of Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah ring in the holiday with customs and traditions that last for no less than three days. 

There are family reunions, colorful breakfast gatherings, mabshoor (barbeque) dinners and home visits as children in their finest and newest clothes run around asking for chocolates and Eidiyah (money given as a gift).

The night of Eid starts with homes spotlessly cleaned, and traditional ma’mool (Arabic cookies filled with dates) and chocolates assembled in the guests’ salon to welcome visitors.




It is a tradition in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah for families and friends to visit each other and convey congratulations on the happy occasion of Eid. This can go on for up to six days. (SPA)

Meanwhile, household members polish their shoes and iron new dresses and traditional men’s thobes (an ankle-length garment). 

Amid the smell of bukhoor (incense), kitchens prepare the ta’teema al-Hijaziya, a buffet style table setting that includes an assortment of cheeses, breads, jams, marmalades, olives, and traditional desserts such as dibyaza, the main dish of the table.

Made at home, dibyaza is a marmalade-like dish made by melting qamar al-deen (dried apricots) in a large pot, adding roasted almonds and nuts, figs, peaches and dates. 

The mix is stirred well in a large pot for no less than two to three hours. It is then allowed to cool off and slightly harden for no less than a day. 

It is customary for the matriarch to gather the younger family members a day or two before Eid to make the mix together as a family affair. It is distributed to friends and family for Eid morning.

FASTFACT

 

• The night of Eid starts with homes spotlessly cleaned, and traditional ma’mool (Arabic cookies filled with dates, nuts or figs) and chocolates assembled in the guests’ salon to welcome visitors.

• It is a tradition in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah for families and friends to visit each other and convey congratulations on the happy occasion. This can go on for up to six days.

• For many Hijazis, Eid prayers and visits are considered a reunion with friends and family members not seen in a while.




The night of Eid starts with homes spotlessly cleaned, and traditional ma’mool (Arabic cookies filled with dates) and chocolates assembled in the guests’ salon to welcome visitors. (Shutterstock)

Nostalgic Eid-related music can be heard from homes, such as the late Talal Maddah’s “Kol am wintom bekhair,” Mohammed Abdo’s “Min al-aydeen” and Safa’a Abul Saud’s “Ahlan bel Eid.”

It is a Muslim tradition to head to Eid prayers at mosques, or empty lots turned into prayer areas, which commence a few minutes after sunrise. Muslims recite prayer chants en route.

Young girls twirl in their finest dresses as young boys barely hang on to their traditional ghutra (headdress), all smiles and excitement in anticipation of the gifts, chocolates and Eidiya money they will be receiving as strangers pass around baskets of sweets and chocolates.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Amid the smell of bukhoor (incense), kitchens prepare the ta’teema Al-Hijaziya, a buffet style table setting that includes an assortment of cheeses, breads, jams, marmalades, olives, and traditional desserts.

• It is customary for the matriarch to gather the younger family members a day or two before Eid to make the mix together as a family affair. It is distributed to friends and family for Eid morning.

• Many families in Makkah and Madinah prefer to head to the Two Holy Mosques. It is tradition for the young ones to go with their fathers, while mothers tend to the home before guests start arriving.

• Hijazi family gatherings are large, loud, and full of joy and laughter. Eid is a celebration for all.

Many families in Makkah and Madinah prefer to head to the Two Holy Mosques. It is tradition for the young ones to go with their fathers, while mothers tend to the home before guests start arriving. 

Visitors of the Two Holy Mosques from all walks of life share an occasion as one, united in celebration and exchanging greetings.

For many Hijazis, Eid prayers and visits are considered a reunion with friends and family members not seen in a while. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, there is a shared renewal of bonds.  




The night of Eid starts with homes spotlessly cleaned, and traditional ma’mool (Arabic cookies filled with dates) and chocolates assembled in the guests’ salon to welcome visitors. (Shutterstock)

It is tradition in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah for families and friends to visit each other and convey congratulations on the happy occasion. This can go on for up to six days. 

It is customary for the elder of each family to hold breakfast with the ta’ateema al-Hijaziya. A number of Hijazi dishes other than the ta’ateema are also present at the table.

Young ones line up by age to kiss the family elders, who bear gifts. The elder men traditionally wear a white thobe and immah, an orange checkered cloth folded and wrapped in a turban style around the head.

The elder women wear a traditional mihrama and mudawara, a thin white cloth wrapped around the head almost like a headband, with a triangular flowing piece of cloth placed at the center of the head and the two sides lightly placed on the shoulders.

Many families continue their home visits through the afternoon and early evening, before heading to another main family event for dinner.

While many families opt for restaurants, others keep with tradition and gather at their in-laws’ home for a night of mabshoor. 

Hijazi family gatherings are large, loud, and full of joy and laughter. Eid is a celebration for all.


Preventive protocols issued as Saudi Arabia moves to relax curfew further

Updated 30 May 2020

Preventive protocols issued as Saudi Arabia moves to relax curfew further

RIYADH: As Saudi Arabia moved closer to Phase 2 of the gradual relaxation of coronavirus lockdown rules, the Ministry of Interior announced precautionary measures and preventive protocols for several sectors to follow.

The preventive protocols, prepared by the Ministry of Health,  covers the period from 8 Shawwal to 28 Shawwal 1441 in the Hijri calendar, corresponding to May 31 to June 20, 2020 in the Gregorian calendar.

A ministry official said the protocols are provided for mosques;  the public; petroleum, petrochemical and gas and other industries; malls and retail centers, home delivery service, among others.

The preventive protocols can be found at: https://covid19awareness.sa/archives/5460.

The MOI urged all citizens, expatriates and concerned authorities "to implement these procedures and abide by their provisions in order to preserve the safety of all".

Also on Saturday, the acting minister of economy and planning, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, said the gradual lifting of the curfew "represents a new stage in the face of the global pandemic crisis and towards a gradual return to economic activities in the Kingdom to its normal levels."
 
"The decisions were taken after continuous coordination between the Ministry of Health and the concerned authorities, relying on a focused plan that seeks to balance between procedures for reopening economic activities and maintaining the stability of health and social conditions," said Jadaan, who is also the Kingdom's minister of finance.

Al-Jadaan highlighted that the government has increased – during the last period through the state’s general budget – spending on urgent and necessary requirements to face the crisis.

It has significantly strengthened the financial allocations for the Health and related services sector.

The government also launched urgent support initiatives to mitigate the impact on the private sector, supporting the economy and to preserve the jobs of citizens in economic establishments, he said in a statement carried by the SPA.