By Charly SHELTON
Eid al-Fitr, the celebrated Festival of Breaking the Fast in the Islamic faith, was celebrated on June 3 across the world. It is a day when Ramadan, the month of daytime fasting, ends and Muslims thank Allah for the strength and blessings they received during the month. The festivities include feasting, shopping and getting together with family and neighbors to break the fast. While Muslims in America celebrated at home and in local mosques, Eid al-Fitr becomes a national celebratory week in largely Islamic countries.
This year, overseas tourism was bigger than ever for the holiday. According to PR Newswire, “Eid season” in Saudi Arabia attracted five million visitors in five days. This year’s season hosted more than 350 events and 900 shows in 90 cities across the Kingdom. By attendance numbers, “Eid cities” were the most attractive sites for visitors as stage and music shows topped the best-selling list of tickets, especially plays of star Tariq Al Ali “Antar Al Mofaltar” and Egyptian star Mohammed Saad’s play “On Stanley Bridge,” in addition to the music show “From Sixteen Till Now.”
One particular draw during Eid season was shopping malls. Saudi malls received visitors for 120 continuous hours during the first five days in Eid season, which was organized for the first time under a unified and comprehensive theme across the Kingdom’s cities, under the umbrella of “Saudi seasons” to restore feelings of Eid happiness and joy on individual, family, neighborhood and community levels.
According to Eid season’s organizers, the malls that opened doors around the clock from the first till the fifth day of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan) were Al Qasr, Granada, Riyadh Park, Kingdom Center (Riyadh), Red Sea Mall (Jeddah) and Darin Mall (Dammam), in addition to AMC Cinema in King Abdullah Financial Center and Fox Cinemas scattered across the different malls.