World News Eid celebrations: Saudi Arabia embraces joy and unity

RIYADH: The festival of Eid Al-Fitr, a highlight of the Islamic calendar that marks the culmination of the fasting month of Ramadan, is being celebrated with religious fervor and joy across the Kingdom.

Muslims throughout Saudi Arabia observed the auspicious Eid Al-Fitr prayers on Wednesday morning, 15 minutes after sunrise, in accordance with the Umm Al-Qura calendar.

In anticipation of the Eid prayer, worshippers filled designated prayer halls and mosques prepared meticulously across the Kingdom in the pre-dawn hours.

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman performed Eid Al-Fitr prayers to celebrate the culmination of the holy month of Ramadan.

The king performed Eid prayers at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah with several princes and senior officials, while the crown prince performed Eid prayers with worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The crown prince then met with princes, scholars, sheikhs, excellencies and senior officials to exchange Eid greetings.

The king and the crown prince earlier sent cables of congratulation to leaders of Islamic countries, with messages of enhanced security, stability and prosperity.

Thousands of Muslims filled the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah for the joyous Eid Al-Fitr prayer. The prayer in the Grand Mosque was led by Sheikh Saleh bin Abdullah bin Humaid.

In his Eid sermon, Sheikh Humaid commended Saudi Arabia’s dedication in serving the millions who visit the holy mosques every year, and conveyed a powerful message of unity and social connection.

He urged Muslims to use Eid Al-Fitr as an opportunity to strengthen bonds with each other, and emphasized the importance of spreading peace and good wishes, fostering reconciliation, and practicing forgiveness.

At the Prophet’s Mosque, Imam Sheikh Ahmed bin Ali Al-Hudhaifi, in his Eid sermon, expounded on the virtues of Eid Al-Fitr and the core tenets of Islam, emphasizing the importance of piety.

Madinah Gov. Prince Salman bin Sultan and his deputy, Prince Saud bin Khalid bin Faisal, performed the Eid prayer with worshippers at the Prophet’s Mosque.

Millions of Muslims across the Kingdom attended congregational Eid prayers in various mosques and designated prayer grounds for the blessed occasion.

In prayers performed in various regions, and attended by regional governors and senior officials, the preachers congratulated Muslims on the blessed occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, praying to Allah Almighty to accept their fasting, prayers, charity, and good deeds.

After the prayer, people gathered, wishing each other a happy and blessed Eid Al-Fitr.

Overcast skies and rain on Wednesday in the Saudi capital provided relief from the early season heat.

The week-long festivity, a culmination of the fasting month of Ramadan and the beginning of the Eid holidays, has ushered in the most festive celebration in the Islamic calendar, as families organize get-togethers, feasts, and offer presents and delicacies.

Alaa Alshammari, a Riyadh resident, told Arab News: “On this joyous occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, the most celebratory occasion in the Islamic calendar, we get together with our relatives and friends to enjoy it. This evening all my relatives are coming to my house for the celebration. We will also visit them the next day and this will continue during the holiday continuing until the weekend. We exchange greetings, share presents and delicacies.

“Eid is a time of joy, gratitude and togetherness with your loved ones. One of the most beloved Eid Al-Fitr customs is exchanging Eid gifts, or Eidiyah, as a sincere way to express gratitude and love to family and friends.”

Comprehensive civil and security arrangements are in place for the annual festival to ensure the colorful celebrations can be enjoyed safely.

The capital has been decorated by municipal staff with special arrangements, including banners bearing “Eid Saeed” on main roads.

The General Entertainment Authority has issued details of Eid Al-Fitr events around the Kingdom. These will feature a wide range of activities, including fireworks displays, music concerts, and theatrical performances.

Fireworks will light up the sky at 9 p.m. daily, beginning on Wednesday. A series of theatrical performances featuring Arab actors will also be showcased.

On April 13, Jeddah will host the play “The Red Box” at the Batterjee Medical College Theater.

On April 14, the Mohammed Alali Theater in Riyadh will present the play “The Neighbor,” and the Alasala Colleges Theater in Dammam will host the play “Ors Aljen.”

Boulevard City and Boulevard World in Riyadh will be open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 1 a.m., respectively, offering a delightful experience throughout the Eid period.

The GEA said this year’s theme is “Your Eid is Among Your Family and Loved Ones,” reflecting the authority’s efforts to foster communication, and spread happiness among Saudi residents and visitors.

Some families from Riyadh went to Makkah and Madinah to spend their holidays in the two holy cities.

Ahad Murtaza, who works with the King Saud University as a faculty member, told Arab News: “I am in Madinah with my family for the big occasion. We will be heading to Makkah for Umrah on Thursday, and will return to Madinah after the Umrah and next day back to Riyadh, thus spending some time with family during the Eid holiday.”

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