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Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr (in Kiswahili also called ‘Idi’ or ‘Sikukuu,’ which means ‘celebration’) is the Muslim holiday that signifies the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It is without a doubt that it is the central holiday of Islam, and a major event throughout Tanzania, but especially observed on the Swahili Coast and the Zanzibar Archipelago. Throughout Ramadan, Muslim men and women fast from sunrise to sunset, only taking meager food and drink after dark. The dates for Eid al-Fitr vary according to the sighting of the new moon, but as soon as it is observed the fasting ends and four days of feasting and festivities begin.

After dawn prayers on the first morning of Eid al-Fitr, the celebrations begin. Family members and friends come together to exchange gifts and special alms, called zakat al-Fitr, are given to the poor. Families walk in the streets, the children showing off their new clothes, and often the festivities are accompanied by traditional Swahili taarab music and much dancing.

If you would like to visit Tanzania during Eid al-Fitr, please note that the dates of the Islamic holiday change each year. Contact your travel agent to find out when to travel. In Zanzibar’s Stone Town, the best places to observe the festivities are the Mnazi Mmoja grounds opposite the National Museum or at the Kariakoo fair grounds near the Post Office.

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