Eid Al Mawled Al Nabawi is one of the most important Eids in Syria, when Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad with love and joy. Praying in Mosques is the main ritual; people pray together and share congratulations in this Eid amidst great happiness.
Mosques recite the Qur’an and religious songs as a celebration for a two days.
In Aleppo, the streets are decorated, and seasonal signs are everywhere, fireworks and "Anasheed" religious songs are heard all day long to celebrate this important day. People cook food and make sweets, and everyone comes to eat and share in this happiness atmosphere.
Some traders sell food, but others who like to participate make food or sweets to distribute, other than that, everything is free.
"’Mamounieh’ (a traditional Aleppo dish made from semolina, sugar and water and eaten with cheese and bread) and ‘Shaibiat’ (a traditional sweet food) are given to the celebrating people in the street to eat," Ammar from Aleppo said.
Mamounieh is the breakfast that people are invited to eat together; tables are put on streets with food and people eat together and this participation brings people closer and that is among the loveliest things.
He continued by describing this year's celebration. “This year the celebration is bigger than previous years because it is safer now and the situation is better than previous years. Thank God for that. People before were afraid of war, they were afraid to come down into the streets, but now things are better, and the celebration is huge."
When asked about how Eid today is different from Eid before the war he said, “Faces are different; some left, travelled and some we lost in the war. Al Eid Al Nabawi Al shareef does not change."
Harmony in Syrian Society Has Always Been There
When there is a Muslim Eid, Christians and Muslims share their joy. This is not new. It was always that way before the war. This war has not been able to tear society’s fabric. Here they are again celebrating Eid with new hopes for the future.
On that Mohammad commented, “Our brothers and sisters in Christianity always take part in our Eids and celebrate with us. Today they are making sweets and distributing them in the streets with us, in Al Azizieh yard and in the churches, too. The Christian religious men are celebrating with us and it has always been that way in their Eids and in ours."
“A couple of days before Al Eid,” Om Ahmad says, “we go off to the markets to buy sweets and in Damascus we give ‘Mlabbas’ (roasted almonds covered in a sugar layer) that we put it in textured packages for visitors. The markets are packed, and sweets salespeople have great offers on. Almost all the products have offers on at this time. Sweets salespeople are very generous, and we enjoy the shopping part very much."
Khaled, from Latakia, says, “The celebration mainly takes place in Mosques, with Prayer and Anasheed and giving Mlabbas and sweets to everyone. Bringing sweets to relatives’ homes is a tradition as well, so the family gets together and eats in a happy atmosphere."
In a nice initiative, some taxi drivers have decided to work for free on this day in Damascus. Even children and kids are celebrating in some schools and kindergartens.
Feeding people, serving them for free and other acts of kindness are done free, as charity for the Prophet Mohammad's soul. This sincere behaviour, done from the heart, makes the atmosphere of harmony stronger. When you give from your heart you are not waiting for a pay back.
"This day is a day of happiness and joy and I am keen on taking part always; every year I celebrate with my family and friends. The most important thing is the happiness and I cannot express with words how important this day is. It is beyond words," Ammar said with love.
Syria has gone through a lot of suffering, but every day and in every celebration, it is healing. With the love and harmony expressed and clearly witnessed in such celebrations, the future seems brighter.