Skip to main content

Will Eid al-Fitr Bring Hope For Arab World?

Eid al-Fitr is being celebrated with an especially heavy heart this year, with massacres still taking place in Syria, hatred in Egypt boiling over and the closure of Gaza continuing.
Palestinians buy sweets in Jerusalem's Old City ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, August 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM - Tags: RELIGION FOOD) - RTX12D0X
Read in 

"Kul A’am wa-Antum bi-Khayr." Happy New Year! That is how people greet each other during the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which is being celebrated on Aug. 7-8 throughout the Muslim world to mark the end of the Ramadan month of fasting. This season marks the completion of the writing of the Quran — at least according to one tradition — but for most people celebrating the festival today, its significance has come to be forgiveness, camaraderie and peace. It is a holiday in which conflicts and disputes are resolved, and everyone starts anew.

This year, more than any other year, the traditional blessing is recited in a much more supplicatory tone than usual. The Arabic word "khayr" has so many positive connotations. It means joy, happiness, a livelihood and a secure and promising future. After such a bloody year in the Middle East, however, a dark shadow looms over these expectations for a better tomorrow. The Arab Spring has taken its toll in victims, and it continues to take its toll, so that this optimistic metaphor — once an expression of liberation from the yoke of tyranny and dictatorship — is no longer very accurate. Spring has transformed itself into a harsh winter, and dark, ominous clouds still obscure the sky.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.