Semiha about Festival of breaking the fast

For me, showing that we treat our elders with respect is one of the most important parts of Eid al Fitr.
Prof. dr. Semiha Denktas
Chief Diversity Officer & Head of Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Eid al Fitr, or the Festival of breaking the fast, is a major religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world. It marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It is marked by, amongst other things, family and social gatherings, traditional sweet dishes, feasting and gift giving.

Semiha: “In Islamic countries, Eid al Fitr usually lasts three to four days. During this time, people normally take days off from work or school. In the Netherlands, celebrations usually last shorter, but here we also arrange for our children and ourselves to be free from work and school – at least for the first day of celebrations. 

We start this day with going to prayer at the mosque, after which we have a large breakfast with the entire family. The rest of the day, all the older relatives within the family – grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts – are all paid a visit by their younger family members. For me, showing that we treat our elders with respect is one of the most important parts of Eid al Fitr.”

Everywhere you go to visit, you are welcomed by delicious meals and drinks. In that sense, Eid al Fitr is somewhat like Christmas: we celebrate with family and friends, feast together and give small gifts to our children. It really is a cheerful celebration as well, as everybody visits each other and is happy to get back into a more normal rhythm following a month of fasting.

What makes working at Erasmus University College so much fun is that I am part of a truly international community working and studying there. This means we celebrate many different holidays as well. Colleagues and students often bring along treats from their own cultures. I myself for example bring along Baklava whenever I feel like – not only during Eid al Fitr!”