Just before Eid ul Fitr is a bitter sweet moment where Muslims say goodbye to the Holy Month of Fasting that gives one such fulfilment for mind body and soul. The nostalgia is quickly masked by waves of joy and excitement in anticipation for Eid Ul Fitr; the Festival of Fast Breaking.
The Preparations start about two weeks prior to this eventful day. It is a field day in Markiti Mombasa and the streets of Old town during the night. Families go on a night spree shopping for Eid, the streets are filled with lights, eager shop vendors with the bargain of the year for the Abayas (the black dress for women) & the Kanzu (White Robe) for Men. Old Town is filled with an aroma of barbecued mishkakis and chicken tikka as street food market comes alive with so many coastal cuisines lined up to fulfil your taste buds. The Houses are washed, new curtains hanged and the sensation is felt the night before Eid when you can smell the Oud Incense from house to house as if there is competition with who has the strongest fragrance scent.
Fashion and Beauty comes with preparations for everyone. The women book their Heena appointments two weeks prior, the barber shops feel like the Games of Thrones as everyone wants to look sharp a day before. Queues are endless but the wait is definitely worth it once you see the henna designs and hairstyles for women and the shaved beards inspired by the Omani culture in the coast. Eid Ul Fitr represents something new and it’s new affair is felt. Everyone comes out with their best new Eid outfit as they head out for the Eid Prayers that is prayed in mass. The large numbers may not fit in the mosques and so many opt for prayers in an open field.
Breakfast is served in plenty as the values on this day commemorates community and giving – Families, Friends and the less fortunate come together and share a meal that is mostly laid on a Mkeka (Mat). Kids go on a Trick or Treat mission as its customary to keep a pack of sweats or change in coins for the kids who come knocking on the door. The men pay their respect to the dead by visiting the graveyards and the women go on a social catching up chat as they get ready for lunch which in most house holds would be either Biryani or Pilau.
The evenings would not be complete without a visit to Makadara Grounds, a kids fair for games and food or for the youth, who would go for a movie or dinner date. For the elderly, a night sitting out watching the stars and sharing old time stories.