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Koriteh Feast in The Gambia

My Magazine 2023/04
6 min
Koriteh is also known as Eid al-Fitr. Eid translates to "the festival of breaking the fast", marking it as a celebration of the ending of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. After a month of abstinence and devotion to Allah (SWT), the festival allows Muslims to reward themselves with what they previously gave up in the name of their faith.

It takes much devotion and self-control to refrain from drinking and eating between the hours of sunlight and sunset. This is done to strengthen a spiritual relationship with Allah (SWT), along with worship and prayer to commemorate the revelation of the Qur'an. Therefore, Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated to commemorate the month's successes. It's a joyous occasion with festivities, prayers, and social gatherings.

 Here is an overview of how Koriteh is celebrated in The Gambia:

  1. Sighting of the Moon: The Koriteh festival begins with the sighting of the moon. Muslim leaders and scholars in The Gambia look for the crescent moon to determine the start of the festival.
  2. Dressing in New Clothes: It is a tradition in The Gambia to wear new clothes on the day of Koriteh. People dress up in colourful and vibrant outfits to mark the happy occasion. 
  1. Prayer: On the morning of Koriteh, Muslims in The Gambia gather in mosques or open spaces for the special Koriteh prayer. The prayer is led by an Imam and is attended by men, women, and children dressed in their best traditional attire. But before Eid prayers can begin, a charity donation must be made. This is called Zakat ul-Fitr, which is given to the needy, allowing them to partake in festivities.

  1. Greetings and Gifts: After the prayer, people exchange greetings and gifts with family, friends, and neighbours. Giving money or gifts to children and visiting friends and relatives to celebrate the occasion is customary. It is a time for forgiveness, reconciliation, and strengthening relationships.
  2. Special Foods: Koriteh is a time for feasting, and special foods are prepared for the occasion. Gambians prepare traditional dishes such as benachin, domoda, and yassa, which are shared with family and friends.

  1. Music and Dance: are integral to Koriteh celebrations in The Gambia. People gather in public places and dance to the beat of traditional drumming and music.
  2. Charity: It is also common for Muslims in The Gambia to give charity during Koriteh. Muslims are encouraged to give to the less fortunate and help those in need.

Do you want to experience the Koriteh celebration yourself? Contact us! We are your personal travel assistant in The Gambia and will make sure to make your Gambian experience tailored to your wishes!

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