The Maldives celebrated Eid ul-Fitr this week with prayer by day and parties by night. After a month of fasting for Ramadan, residents appear to be enjoying the capital island’s festive, social atmosphere.
The Islamic Ministry announced that Tuesday, August 30 was Eid ul-Fitr this year, and Male’ residents woke early on Tuesday morning to the sounds of heavy metal playing near the tsunami memorial. By late morning, the music had stopped and people were moving among houses and shops and a relaxed holiday atmosphere settled over the usually bustling city.
As ordered by the government, all private vehicles were parked and quiet between 3:30pm and 10:30pm. The traffic ordinance made it possible for residents to walk comfortably in the streets on a day when most of Male’ comes out for a stroll or to see the festivities.
The Islamic Ministry extended prayer space from the Islamic Center to Jetty 1 on Male’s northern side. Women could pray in extended space between the Dhiraagu head office to the Friday Mosque Minaret. Men were allowed to occupy all other areas.
Many Male residents traveled to home islands for Eid this year. But those who stayed enjoyed a range of sports, music and cultural activities.
Lagoons Sports Club organised “Maali Neshun” and “Bodumas Beynun”, Maldivian sporting events, on Boduthakurufaanu Magu and Ameenee Magu on Tuesday afternoon.
In “Maali Neshun”, masked participants dressed in ash and palm leaves walked Male’s roads and frightened parade onlookers in jest.
Two fishermen in “Bodumas Beynun” used magic, or fanditha, to catch a large woven fish.
In the evening, Male’s youth and married couples were to be found in hoards at the live music show in the Raalhugandu area, which was sponsored by local telecommunications company Dhiraagu.
Local bands such as 1knightstand, Harubee, and MNDF Cops Band took the stage alongside solo artists like Unoosha and Easa. The concert, which featured a range of musical tastes from soft rock to metal, rap and ska, began around 10 pm and continued past 2 in the morning.
Just around the corner near Bodufungandu Magu, palm tree road blocks protected a street rave featuring drums and traditional dancers. Young people and families were seen, and heard, celebrating into the late hours of the night.
The five-day period of Eid continues through Sunday. Although business is expected to return to its normal, pre-Ramadan state on Monday, Maldivians are looking forward to a second, longer Eid celebration before the end of the year.