The feasts and celebrations in the Arab world

In terms of culture, the festivities characterise the most a country. And The Arab and Muslim countries are not immune of this reality. Those countries fascinate and intrigue the curiosity of tourits and visitors with religious celebrations and communes or specifics culturals for a country particularly. It is normal because during those celebrations, the best traditionnal dresses (splendors), the most impressive meals taken together and others typical manifestations to traditions and to laws of the particular country show up.

Here is an overview of feasts celebrated in the Arab world, religious traditional parties, national holidays and Western inspirations’ feasts.

The religious feasts in the Islamic calendar

The feasts related to Islamic religion are celebrated by all the muslim countries in the world, so all the countries of the Arab world. Fixed according to the lunar calendar througout the year, those celebrations give rythm to the Islam’s life and to the believer.

There are two principals feasts, two high points of the year that all muslim should celebrated

  • Aïd al-fitr or Aïd el-Seghîr

The feast of Ramadan’s breaking fast, also called Small party lasts at least two days and is related to the gathering and the communion of communities. Aïd’s prayer is a great solemn moment and according to the tradition, people should wear new clothes, children should receive presents, people should present wishes to each other and the families should gather around a hearty meal.

  •  Aïd al-Adha or Aïd al-Kabîr

The sacrifice’s feast or Great feast commemorates the prophet Abraham’s approval to offer his sacrifice and mark the end of the pilgrimage’s period in Mecca. The celebration is marked by the sheep’s sacrifice by the chiefs of the family according to the muslims rites. So, a third party of the sheep will be eaten and a third one will be given to needy people and the last part will be given to the guests. The festivities last many days as well.


Others remarkable religious holidays are celebrated in Arab countries. Some are celebrated and become a non-work period in all the communities whereas some are only celebreted in some regions. As the celebration of the birthday of the prophet Al Mawlid Annabaoui, the celebration is marked by public festivities in some countries. Futhermore, there is the Hegira’s commemoration, the muslim new year which is a day off in all the muslims countries without being necessarily a feast day.

The specific feats and national holidays in a particular country

Next to the religious holidays, most of the countries in Arab world (as all the countries in the world) has its national holiday which commemorate the independance proclamation or the creation of a State. This day is marked by national celebrations and parades.

In the monarchies as Morrocco or Jordan, distinctives holidays are celebrated. So, every January 30th, Jordan celebrates the King Abdalalah II birthday.The same in Morrocco, the August 20th, the revolution of the King’s birhday is celebrated and he August 21st is the youth day celebration.

Some countries has local feasts, an occasion of lively festivities. So, in Alger, we celebrate the « moussems » (local feasts) as the Taghit Moussem in the end of October which is the dates harvest at Taghitt, an oasis sitted in the west of Alger ; or in spring with the tomatoes moussem at Adrar and cherries at Tlemcen.

The international celebrations and Western inspiration

Others international holidays give rhythm to the life in the Arab countries and mark their opening up to the world. Thus, the new year’s day, January 1st is celebrated in some countries and May 1st, labour day is a holiday and a non-working day in the Maghreb countries.

Some Arab-Muslim countries celebrate also the Mother’s Day, a day that is not obligatory the same fixed international date. Egypt is the first country which initiate the idea of Mother’s Day celebration, when two creators of the Akhbaar Al-Yawm newspaper received a letter from a mother who complained about the bad behaviour of her children. Then, they suggested in an article dedicating one day to remember mothers and their kindnesses.

One thing led to another, the March 1st, first day of the spring was voted and the first Mothers’s Day in Egypt was celebrated in 1956. Until now, this date is still the date chosen to celebrate Mother’s Day in many countrie in the Arab world.

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