Eid Ul-Adha Celebrations in the Maldives

Best Read
PUBLISHED June 28, 2023

Muslims around the globe celebrate Eid Ul-Adha today (on Wednesday, 28th June), it is the culmination of the annual holy pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Here in the Maldives, Eid Ul-Adha is celebrated with cultural celebrations involving gastronomy, having its own food culture around the day and entertainment throughout the day. Today we take a closer look at how Eid is celebrated in the Maldives.

It all starts with the congregation Eid-prayer in the early morning hours, after which comes the Eid-breakfast consisting of Kulhi Boakiba (Maldivian fish pie) which is made the night before, Nowadays new shorteats are also being added with Kulhi boakiba. Most islands enjoy the Eid-breakfast as a community activity with each household bringing their version of the Kulhi boakiba to be enjoyed. After the prayer is done, most people will start to engage in the feisty lunch preparations. You might find Fenkulhi a playful activity in which small packets filled with Water and coloring dyes are often splashed on each other on most islands, including the capital Malé city, although it’s frowned upon some like the idea and it has become a part of the celebrations. 

Traditionally lunch is served as Malaafaiy which is the name given to large, wooden serving dishes, with the exterior and lid adorned with intricate traditional lacquer work. The dishes are typically filled with rice and choices of curry, as well as other side dishes and salads, it is covered by a lid and wrapped in a cloth with the top-tied, this tradition is now practiced rarely on special occasions. Lunch is the main affair of the Eid celebration, while most prefer the customary choice of Biryani to be the Eid lunch, the menu revolves around chicken dishes along with varieties of rice and dessert to top it up. Desserts may vary from Pirini (semolina pudding), Haluvidhaa (Maldivian version of jelly), Sago Pudding, Custard and Biscuit Pudding. 

Throughout the Maldives decorations of various sorts are done for the Eid celebrations, Malé city being the most colorful. Eid is also a time for many to enjoy a much-needed holiday. This year the Eid holiday pairs up with the academic holidays, and the local routine has become much more laid back and relaxed with many travelling to local islands and abroad. 

The evening of any Eid celebration in the Maldives includes entertainment, typically cadets brass musical plays on the main streets with large crowds gathered in their vibrant Eid-attires, or cultural entertainment parade acts such as, Bodu Mas – literally meaning big fish - which is a large fish weaved out of coconut palm leaves, Maali Neshun consists of people body painted using charcoal signifying a ghosts, some dress up as evil spirits. The tradition is based on ancient folklore in which the Maali (ghost) has come out of the sea to catch the Bodu Mas (big fish) after much struggle the islanders said to have succeeded with the aid. 

During Eid celebrations you have a high chance of experiencing traditional dances such as Bodu Beru (Big drums) which involves a group of traditional drum beaters and dancers, this is a bit of high-octane dance where the songs consist of local tales. Dhandi Jehun consists of a lead singer singing ‘Unbaa’ songs to which the dancers face each other and dance in synchronicity using sticks. Bandiyaa Jehun is a local traditional dance involving mainly female dancers with metal containers  - which were traditionally used to harvest water – Bandiyaa Jehun is also a synchronized dance similar to Thaara Jehun or Thaara is a traditional Maldivian folk music and dance that is performed by two lines of men sitting on the ground, singing and beating hand instruments (similar to a hand drum). The dance is believed to have originated in the Middle East in the 17th century, and today it is only performed at national events. Although you may experience another form or style of traditional dance or entertainment these are the main dances which are practiced nowadays.

Eid always brings a wave of calmness and joy to the island nation where the fast-paced life of central Maldives, in a way it plays a vital part of balance in almost every Maldivian. The ideals of Eid is to share joy and kindness, to embrace everyone and to join hands as a nation. And this Eid Ul-Adha is no different, Happy Eid Mubarak.



Please login to Comment