Eid is celebrated by people from different parts of the world. Each country celebrates in their own unique style because of the influences of traditions. Eid in The Gambia is one unique celebration where everyone (Muslims & Christians) come together to celebrate the festival.
El al Fitr is called ˝Koriteh˝ in The Gambia.
A week before the end of Ramadan, the country becomes the busiest. With 90% of the country’s population being Muslims, Eid is the country’s biggest celebrated festival. This is also the time when businesses are also very busy. Women and children go to the markets to buy clothes, shoes and foodstuff for the family. At this time the traffic is also very heavy. Beauty and barber saloons are full of customers. It is a very lively period in the small country.
In The Gambia, when the holy moon is spotted on the Eve of Eid, everyone is excited. Young people will celebrate from dusk till dawn.
In the early morning, the head of each family will give out rice or any other foodstuff called ˝luma˝ to less privileged people, as is the tradition of Islam. This is an act of feeding the poor and the needy. Most people will give it to the Imam (the head of the mosque) to give it to the families in need. After, the family will prepare to go to the mosque in their new African attires. Some families sew matching clothes for the children and couples. Most of the time, women of the house stay home to prepare breakfast for their husbands and families.
The morning sermon at the big mosque called ˝Jumma˝ takes place for an hour; then, the Eid prayer is led by the Imam. After the Eid prayer is completed, people will begin to greet each other, wishing each other longevity and joy. Greetings will be exchanged. The prayer ground becomes the place for meeting new people, getting to know neighbours, and interacting with friends in the Islamic tradition. Some will go to each other’s houses to greet families, friends and neighbours.
When the members of the families arrive from the prayer ground, they take breakfast and slaughter their sheep if available. However, this is not compulsory. The slaughter of ram or sheep is mandatory for those who can afford it on Eid al Adha (Tobaski).
A big feast is prepared at home as lunch. People eat to their fill and enjoy music.
In the afternoon, everyone dresses up and goes to greet relatives. This moment is called the ˝Salibo˝. Children will go out in groups led by a much older child to look out for the younger ones on ˝Salibo˝. They keep the ˝Salibo˝ and share it when they get home in the evening.
The festival continues into the nights when youths and adults will organize night parties or dinner at home. Couples will go out for a romantic dinner and enjoy an exciting evening with friends and other families. Young boys and girls would also celebrate in different ways, organizing parties with friends or attending musical concerts.
The Eid festival celebration usually lasts for three days in The Gambia.