Eid in Saudi Arabia

So delighted I was to have the chance to spend this year’s Eid in Jeddah! It all seemed perfect when my whole family reunited again. It felt ages ago when we spent our Eid together as a family. As for me, this was my first time to be with them during Eid after 6 years (straight!) of absence. I just couldn’t imagine spending another Eid without my family. So when the opportunity came (i.e. I had to come back to Saudi Arabia to renew my residence permit), I promised myself I wouldn’t want to miss it again!

I arrived in Jeddah via Jordan on the day of Eid (10 September). I booked the flight ticket a month before, so I was practically “gambling” on the Eid date! Somehow, I had a feeling that Eid was going to fall on the 10th, instead of the 9th. Alhamdulillah, I was right! My last fasting period was on the plane on the way to Amman, Jordan and then I had to wait at Queen Alia International Airport for 4 hours. The Jordanians were just nice and friendly — perhaps, everyone was — wishing me Happy Eid whenever I encountered them. I arrived in Jeddah just before dawn (Fajr prayer). The airport was very empty — it would have been different had I arrived few days before as the airport would have been packed with many pilgrims trying to enter the country for the last 10 days of Ramadhan. Eventually, I got out of the airport after the Fajr prayer and rushed to my house to prepare for Eid.

By 6.30am, my family and I walked to the mosque nearby. In the old days, we used to perform Eid prayer in Mekkah, but this time it’s impossible as I arrived quite late. The nearby mosque was good enough; there were MANY people. In Indonesia, people usually wore Islamic dress or gamis to the mosque, but here I only wore my usual abaya with a pyjama underneath :P. The Saudis and other Arabs usually wore their newest abaya and put A LOT OF make-up on their face. Their children wore dresses mostly suited for wedding parties. Different cultures had their own thing, indeed :).

Upon finishing our Eid prayer, we went back home, had a “forgiveness time” (salam-salaman hehe), and ate ketupat, semur, and sayur godog (Betawi foods!) for breakfast. In Indonesia, we usually went straight to relatives’ houses, but in Saudi Arabia, we went straight TO SLEEP! Hahaha. Saudis usually visited their relatives’ houses just before dinner and the “party” wouldn’t end with Fajr prayer. Yeah, imagine that! 😀

The next 7 days were spent for house-hopping to my parent’s friends’ houses. Normally, for Indonesians in Jeddah, house-hopping started late in the afternoon (or even after the sun sets / after Maghrib prayer) and continued on until 12 am. In the first day of Eid, we all usually went to the house of Indonesian consul general. His house, referred by many Indonesians as “residence”, was always used for many events. During Eid, Indonesians were welcomed to go there and eat the foods, of course 😉 (the same applied to Indonesian embassies around the world!). I was quite happy as there were PLENTY of foods! LOL! But too bad I couldn’t meet many people I knew over there, as some of them have left earlier.

The foods at the house of the Indonesian consul general in Jeddah The foods at the house of the Indonesian consul general in Jeddah

Spending Eid in Jeddah made me realise that there were indeed many Indonesians here! Many of them even went back to Indonesia for Eid, so imagine if all of them were here! 😀 And it’s quite interesting to observe that each house served different foods, depending where the hosts came from. As my mom is a Betawi, semur, sayur godog, dodol, tape, and uli were a must served food and I came to miss them every time I spent my Eid without these foods! 🙂

Alhamdulillah, finally, I could feel the Eid celebration with my family again! I pitied myself for being away for so long that I eventually forgot how it felt to spend Eid at home! In Australia or the Netherlands, Eid went like any other normal day. Sometimes I had to go to classes right after performing Eid prayer. And sometimes I had to skip the meals because of the class. Quite sad, wasn’t it?

Dodol, kolang kaling... yummy foods! Fooooods again!

As next year’s Eid will fall during summer vacation, insya Allah I’m going back to Indonesia to escape from European long fasting hours and spend my first Eid in Indonesia after at least 15 years of absence! 😀

So tell me, how was your Eid? 🙂 Hope you all had a smashing celebration! Eid Mubarak!

My sister, brother, and me


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