Eid is a significant festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Eid falls twice in a year, Eid Al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and spiritual reflection, and Eid Al-Adha marking the end of Hajj pilgrimage.
In the Maldives, Eid is an occasion of great joy and communal spirit. The Maldivian culture beautifully blends Islamic traditions with its unique local customs. In this blog post, we will explore the activities involved in Eid celebrations at Oaga Art Resort of the Maldives.
1. Eid preparations
In the days leading up to Eid, Maldivian households buzz with excitement and anticipation. Families clean and decorate their homes, ensuring they are a welcoming space for guests and loved ones. Shopping for new clothes, traditional garments known as “libaas,” is a cherished tradition. The markets brim with vibrant fabrics and accessories as people select their finest outfits for the festive occasion.
The hoisting of the “Gidige”, a celebratory decorative archway is traditionally used as a sign of grandeur during these festivities.
2. The Call of the Conch Shell “Sangu Fumun”
Traditionally in the Maldives, the sound of the conch shell was used to gather the people of the island in order to make announcements. Here at Oaga, an homage to this tradition is made at the break of dawn.
3. Eid Prayers
On the morning of Eid, communities gather at local mosques to offer special congregational prayers known as “Eid Salah.” Men, women, and children dress in their finest attire, and the mosque is adorned with lights and decorations. Following the prayer, an imam delivers a sermon, emphasising the values of gratitude, charity, and unity.
4. Breakfast Tea with Eid Greetings
Food plays a central role in the Maldivian Eid celebration. After the prayer, Eid breakfast tea is had along with the exchange of Eid greetings. The senior Rahvehin team hosts the tea at Oaga and a variety of traditional short-eats are served.
5. Recital of Eid “Maaloodhu”
Throughout the day, a modified rendition of Eid “Maaloodhu” takes place around the island, where poetry is recited invoking good blessings, a custom which was once practiced widely in Maldives.
6. Eid Lunch
A grand Eid buffet lunch is served in Maldivian style, in Malaafaiy canteen, and an Eid special Maldivian lunch buffet is served at the main restaurant, Kaa Kada. “Malaafaiy” is named after a large lacquered serving tray traditionally used for serving feasts on special occasions such as Eid, a rare sigh in these modern times.
7. Vibe activities
Guests can also expect ‘Eid Bolah Gon!’ flash mobs around the island as the day continues with a range of activities including creative expression sessions of palm weaving, take notes 101 sessions of Eid songs and a special lolly station to cool down at Raa Baa (the resort’s main pool and bar).
8. Eid Parade
The festivities continue with Eid ‘hingaalun’ or parade, where the resort’s Rahvehin team take part dressed in traditional attire, led by traditional boduberu beats with ‘maali neshun’, a traditional form of dance performed while painted and dressed as spirits and ghosts.
This is when ‘bodumas dhuvvun’ with the ‘maali’ and boduberu beats happens. ‘Bodumas’ literally translates to ‘big fish’ which is woven intricately out of coconut palm leaves for the Eid parade.
‘Koadi kendun’ is another activity which is practiced during the parade. The ‘koadi’ is a stake with garlands and rings made out of coconut palm leaves, which is brought out ceremoniously in the evening, and the men march with the ‘koadi’ to hoist it to a palm tree and present it to the women of the island.
9. Eid Show
The day concludes with an Eid Special Dinner Buffet and an unforgettable Eid Show featuring live performances by local talents.
10. A taste of local recreational sports
On the second day of Eid, the festivities continue with traditional Eid ‘Kulhivaru’ or sports including ‘Baibalaa’, the Maldivian rendition of the South-Asian game Kabaddi, and ‘Faiga thalhaa’ or dodgeball. Some fun in the sun for children especially involves ‘fenkulhi’ or water fights combined with a pool party.
Eid celebrations in the Maldives are a captivating blend of religious obervance, cultural traditions, and communal spirit. The vibrant cultural performances and the exchange of gifts further enrich the experience. For visitors and locals alike, the Eid festivities in the Maldives provide an opportunity to immerse themselves in the warmth and beauty of this enchanting island nation.