Eid Culture Night
Istanbul&I held its first culture night since the pandemic began last year to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr this month, on the second day of the festivities. Culture nights at the Istanbul&I office were always the highlight of the month, with an overwhelming number of attendees every time and more activities planned for a further in-depth experience of cultures like traditional food. This year, however, the event was not held at the office and instead on Zoom. On Friday the 14th, the event was held at its usual time to introduce Eid celebrations and festivities in four different cultures: Pakistani, Indonesian, Moroccan, and Afghan, in addition to listening to some beautiful traditional Moroccan music and discussing Eid traditions amongst the participants. The event was organised by the Programming Coordinator, Fateme Babollahzade, and Culture Nights Programming Officer, Fatima Zahra Znioi.
Aiman Khan presented her own country, Pakistan, using a beautiful presentation delving into Pakistani traditions and preparations for the Eid festival, unique to her culture. She displayed traditional Eid clothing, the Eid decorations all around the city, the enthusiastic preparations on the eve of Eid for henna, home-cooked food specific for the occasion like kheer, along with the gift-giving tradition to children, called Eidi. She explained how spending time together with family and friends, and large gatherings hosted at everyone’s place, was the highlight of the occasion.
Mustafa Hishma took the spotlight next and presented his country, Afghanistan, and its Eid traditions. He featured Eid preparations which begin ten days before the occasion, including the henna festival for women, visiting the mosque early in the morning for Eid prayers, special Afghani food prepared for Eid, and the tradition of visiting relatives during the day while sharing gifts with each other. He also presented pictures of traditional food and Eid clothing for both men and women.
Ica Nisa from Indonesia did spectacular work in presenting her country’s unique traditions on Eid, which begin from the eve of Eid with the takbir feast and a beautiful long procession of people carrying lanterns all around the city to celebrate the coming of the festival. Using bright images and videos of Indonesian Eid food and clothing, she also told the participants of Eid greetings and gift hampers like Eidi, concluding her presentation with Indonesian restaurant recommendations in Istanbul for everyone to try.
Fatima Zahra Znioi presented the Eid culture of her own country, Morocco, showing her unique traditions of Al Nafae, who help to wake everyone up for suhoor in the morning during the month of Ramadan. She introduced the beautiful Morrocan garb, djellaba and gandoura, while also describing delicious traditional sweets unique to the occasion like m’hencha. She emphasized that Eid prayers are performed in an open area rather than a mosque and the culture of greeting people before partaking in breakfast.
After a ten-minute break, the managers returned and gave the stage to Farouq Fahmi who played a traditional Morrocan instrument, tambour or bendir, and sang Fiyyashiyya.
After giving a beautiful performance, the participants discussed their own cultural experiences with Eid, asking each other questions relating to the occasion and enjoying their second day of Eid at home, yet together with everyone.
Hiba Kalia Mansoor – 22/5/21