Muslims celebrate first Eid al-Fitr after Covid restrictions in the Netherlands
As the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan comes to a close, Muslims in the Netherlands will get to celebrate Eid al-Fitr sans Covid restrictions for the first time since 2019. Some stores report they are selling even more traditional Eid treats than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to the NOS.
Eid al-Fitr, also known in the Netherlands and Belgium as the Sugar Feast, marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan for Muslims. It is a celebration full of treats, gifts and visits with relatives and friends.
"Last year you heard that people secretly celebrated with larger groups, but now the freedom is back," Samater Geddi, a spokesperson for the research agency Labyrinth, told the NOS. "I am really as happy as a child."
Research by Labyrinth shows that it is more popular than ever for stores in the Netherlands to cater to Eid shoppers. This applies particularly to perfumeries, Geddi said. "You see that they make separate corners there for the Sugar Feast."
Observers of Eid spend around 15 to 20 euros per person on sweets at the Yakhlaf supermarket in Amsterdam-Oost, co-owner Bilal Yakhlaf estimated. At the Al-Yassamin bakery, owner Walid Essakili told the NOS that he is kept baking all day. "What Christmas time is for many stores, the Sugar Feast is for us," he said.
Yakhlaf observed that gift giving to family and friends is also "more extensive than before coronavirus," which he noticed when he was buying gifts in the store. "Everyone is happy that it's allowed again."
Because the beginning of Eid is based on the sighting of the new crescent moon, the exact date can be difficult to predict and can vary from country to country. However, the celebration falls on May 2 in the Netherlands this year.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times