Eid is a powerful time for the avowal of the Muslim faith, as it signifies the end of the month of fasting for Ramadan. Although it means fasting during the daylight hours of most of August, true fasting means abstaining from anything that could be considered an indulgence or weakness. At the same time it serves the purpose to highlight the plight of the hungry. Fitra (alms) are given to the poor towards the end of Ramadan.
On the evening of the 29th night of Ramadan, hundreds of Cape Town Muslims congregate on Signal Hill to look for the crescent moon, which must be visible with the naked eye. The sight of this silvery slice of moon on perhaps the 30th August or even the 1st September denotes the end of fasting and a time to recite thanks and prayers and celebrate.
Women spend the whole night in the kitchen preparing a feast, and the smell of baking lingers all the next day. Meat pies come out of the oven, and pastries, cakes and sweetmeats are prepared for the next day’s celebrations. After usual early morning prayers, people gather in congregations for Eid Salaah prayers at about 8am. Then they visit the graves of their families, and after that, the rest of the day is a big holiday involving families and feasting.