metafilter, how does Eid work?
September 29, 2008 12:36 PM   Subscribe

How does Eid work? For my girlfriend, who is a photographer:

I would like to know more about the practice of observing Eid. If Eid is officially Tuesday of this year, does this mean people go to mosques on Tuesday morning, Tuesday evening, or Wednesday morning? I'm sure many people go to pray more than once, but I want to take photos of the moment when most people are going to the mosque. Any additional information about Eid - especially about how Eid is observed in Africa - would be very appreciated.
posted by clockzero to Religion & Philosophy (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The big prayers for Eid are in the morning of whatever day happens to be Eid. There are usually 2 days vying for the title of Eid each ... Eid, but both are generally well-attended enough. Case in point, I think I'll be praying on Wednesday, but will find out for sure later tonight.

The prayers themselves will start between 9-10. If she gets in touch with the mosque she plans on visiting they'll give her the timings. That being said there probably won't be a large crowd entering at the same time, but rather a steady stream that will continue well past the first set of prayers. I wouldn't hold the stragglers lateness against them though - they were probably enjoying their first normal breakfast in a month.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:42 PM on September 29, 2008

A lot of mosques hold several prayers, often to accommodate the crowds. During prayers, an imam or speaker usually gives a khutba or sermon. Not too different from many church sermons, but delivered and meant for the Muslim community and the respective occasion (ie, a special Eid khutba).

I haven't been to a mosque to celebrate Eid in a while, but taking pictures (not during prayer) was always commonplace. If we went early to reserve our prayer and listening-to-khutba areas, we'd hangout, and listen/talk, and take pictures of each other and our pretty new clothes. I'd ask people before you take their picture though - if you see someone guiding people, maybe a mosque volunteer, see if you can solicit their advice on this. It might be nice to ask people if it's ok if you or your girlfriend can take pictures of them.

Keep in mind, if you are of the opposite sex, you will be in different areas. Men and women will pray in different areas, and listen to the khutba in gender segregated areas.

After prayers and such, there's often some mingling/greeting going on - ymmv (your mosque may vary), but men and women are often a bit more mobile. Some mosques will have food and games for the kids, and people often move to socialize. And eat.

After going to the mosque, my family would always make the rounds to the houses of family friends for more greeting, and more eating. Young children often receive small gifts and money, but not necessarily. Eid in a nutshell, and any portmanteau in a storm give some sage advice too.

Eid mubarak!
posted by raztaj at 3:32 PM on September 29, 2008

Eid is in the mornings. The takbirat (it's like a chant praising Allah) starts about 30minutes to 1 hour before the actual prayer. After the prayer is a khutbah (sermon). Most services start about 1-2 hours after sunrise.

You see people filter into the main hall. It's not always a mosque. In large communities they reserve a convention space or arena. In Houston, this would be the Reliant Hall. I just noticed you said Africa. I have no idea, probably the mosque.

Of course, as the photographer, make sure you're following customs by properly covering yourself. Don't stand in front of people during the prayer (as in, don't step in front of their path during the prayer).

So the moment when most people "go" to the mosque is probably about 10 minutes before the prayer starts because people like to come at the last minute (because they're lazy).
posted by abdulf at 9:37 PM on September 29, 2008

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