Thursday, September 09, 2010

Eid in Baghdad

Happy eid, everyone! Today is Eid al-Fitir! It marks the end of Ramadan, muslim's fasting month. Early in the morning on the day of Eid, muslims wake up to the sound of Allah Akbar – “God is the greatest” — from the minarets of nearby mosques. They go to the mosques for the Eid prayer which is followed by short speech "khutba" by the imam. After that, people meet, greet, and wish each other the best.
Since it is Eid and the end of Ramadan, breakfast is really important on that day. People go to buy kahi wa gaimer— a very delicious kind of pastry that Iraqis eat on special occasions. The pastry shop where you get kahi gets really crowded on Eid. You can wait for a while until you finally get your order — but is really worth it! Traditionally, parents give their children eideya — that’s a gift of money. Now comes the family gathering time. People throw on their new outfits. Relatives visit with one another — they talk, get nostalgic, laugh, discuss life, and listen eid songs. They drink tea and eat klecha — that’s a type of cookie baked especially for Eid.
Kids run around with their new Eid clothes — complete with shiny shoes — and they laugh and play. Usually thier parents take them to parks and restaurants. Al-Zawra'a Park & Zoo in Al-Mansour Area and almost in a central location of Baghdad is the destination of hundreds of baghdadi families during the days of eid. It’s located in Damascus Street. You can find lots of amusements here: children games, a zoo, exhibitions, a tourist’s map, am open-air theater, fountains, sculptures, lakes, coffee-shops, restaurants, sandwich kiosks, the Zawra Olympic Pool, the Zawra Tower ( a 54-meter tower with an Islamic dome with a round veranda under the dome that serves as an observation platform and yields a magnificent view of Baghdad).

On the top of the tower there is a level with a cafeteria and a level with a restaurant; the tower has an elevator. Zawra Park, a sprawling, 250-acre public park in central Baghdad, is one of the few open spaces left in the capital. It's seeing a resurgence of visitors, thanks to improved security in central Baghdad. In eid, where families still gather for picnics, teenage boys kick around soccer balls, young couples canoodle furtively under trees and children bury their faces in cotton candy.
Slowly, Zawra is coming back to life. Here are some pics of Eid Al fitir I wanna share them with you.

Happy eid, everyone!