Eid ul-Fitr, also known as Eid al Fitr or simply “Eid,” is a national holiday in the West Indian island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
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“Trinbago,” as the country is sometimes called by locals, has public holidays hailing from a diversity of religions, which mirrors the diverse religious make-up of its people. Alongside Eid, for example, you will find Christmas and Easter, Carnival Monday and Tuesday, the Hindu festival of lights called “Divali,” and Spiritual Baptist Day on the holiday calendar.
Eid ul Fitr is a celebration of the completion of the Muslim month of Ramadan and takes place on the first day of the following month of Shawwal.
Around five percent of Trinidad and Tobago’s population is Muslim, most of them being of Indian origin ethnically. But, in recent years, many of African descent on the islands have converted to Islam and also join in the Eid ul Fitr observances. In some cases, even non-Muslims may participate to a degree.
Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr for several reasons. First, they have a time of feasting to mark the end of the month-long daylight fasts of Ramadan. Second, they feel a religious obligation to give “zakat al fitr,” charity in the form of food, to the needy at this time of year. Third, as Ramadan is believed to be the month during which the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad, celebrating the completion of Ramadan involves attending mosque services and learning of the Quran’s teachings.
Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago will rise very early in the morning on Eid ul Fitr, go to prayer and preaching services at the local mosque, and then return home to a family feasting time. Other traditions include: donning new clothes, giving candy and other gifts to children, decking out homes with lights and other decorations, visiting friends and relatives, and saying “Eid Mubbarak!” (Happy Eid!) to everyone they meet.
Those touring Trinidad and Tobago during Eid ul Fitr may wish to take part in any of the following activities:
- If possible, attend a mosque service or “get yourself invited” to a family Eid celebration. There are also numerous dinners and special Eid events held across the country, which continue for two or three weeks after the holiday’s official date.
- Enjoy some local Trinidad cuisine, which is a mix of Indian, African, Cajun, Native American, Spanish, Arab, European, and other foreign influences. You can see the diverse food offerings at any local restaurant, and possibly at an Eid feast. Especially look for “chow,” which refers to dishes made of cooked local fruits and with plenty of pepper, salt, and garlic thrown in.
- Get away from the crowds and relax at the scenic, relatively secluded beach along the shores of Englishman’s Bay. The waters are calm all year, and many go there to swim and snorkel. The area has ridges and forests around the sands, and Muslims may find it an appropriate place for an Eid vacation since the beach is shaped like a crescent.
There are many Eid ul Fitr events in Trinidad and Tobago despite its small Muslim population, and the islands’ natural beauty and other attractions are available all year long.