Happy New Year


It's the end of Ramadan and Idul Fitri (or Eid ul-Fitr) was on Tuesday. My friend Arie Dyanto, who lives in Jogjakarta Indonesia, and I exchanged emails and he expressed how he was looking forward to Idul Fitri because it would be quiet around Jogja since many people would be leaving town. I wrote back and had to remind him that Jogja would be anything but quiet and instead would be crazy crowded since everyone from Jakarta would be coming into town. He wrote back: "well you're right,he he he... i wish everyone will have a good time this year most likely they still have to be together under a tent." I was actually in Jogja during Idul Fitri in 2004 and we ended up basically stuck in our hotel for 3 days because it was so difficult to get around. We were stuck in traffic on our motor bike for 2 hours.

For those unfamiliar with this holiday, this is from Wikipedia:

Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر, Persian: عید فطر), often abbreviated as simply Eid, sometimes spelled Eid al-Fitr, is an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Fitr means "to break the fast" and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family is awake very early and then after praying the first normal everyday prayer, is required to eat in a small quantity, symbolizing the end of Ramadan. They then attend special congregational prayers held only for this occasion in mosques, in large open areas, stadiums or arenas. The prayer is generally short, and is followed by a khutba. Worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace and love after the congregational prayer. After the special prayers festivities and merriment will be commonly observed with visits to the homes of relatives and friends in thanking God for all blessings. Eid is a time to come together as a community and to renew friendship and family ties. This is a time for peace for all Muslims in the world to devote to prayers and mutual well-being.

It is a joyous occasion with important religious significance. Happiness is observed as attaining spiritual uplift after a month of fasting. Muslims normally dress in holiday attire.

For Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr is a joyful celebration of the achievement of enhanced piety. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory, peace of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims here are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but thanking God for the help and strength that they believe He gave them throughout the previous month to help them practise self-control.