International Triathlon & Marathon | Jahazi Literary & Jazz Festival | Mwaka Kogwa | Religious Festivals – Eid ul Fitr | Religious Festivals – Eid ul Hajj | Sauti Za Busara Swahili Music & Cultural Festival | Zanzibar Cultural Festival | ZIFF Festival of the Dhow Countries
Eid-ul-Fitr is the festival at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Also known as Eid or Sikukuu (days of celebration, festival or holiday), this festival is a time of giving charity. The fasting of Ramadan is meant to remind people what life is like for their less fortunate brethren and the alms giving at Eid (known as zakat-el-Fitr) is a continuation along the same idea. Both fasting and the giving of alms are two of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Because the Islamic calendar is different from that of Christians, the dates for Ramadan and Eid change every year by about 10 days so check a local Islamic calendar if you’re looking to visit Zanzibar during Eid. Ramadan is a holy month in which drinking, smoking, and eating during daylight hours for Muslims is prohibited. Dress codes should be strictly adhered to. Some restaurants are closed during this month and outside of town it can be difficult to get any food at all during daytime hours during Ramadan. All discos are closed during Ramadan.
Eid is a joyful experience and everybody is out and about celebrating. In Zanzibar the partying continues for four solid days and many open areas around town and in the villages turn into festival venues. It is a great time to see all the little girls in their new dresses and the boys in their new sneakers/trainers. The girls wear kohl around the eyes regardless of age, and the boys run around firing cap guns. There is a general feeling of celebration as people go from house to house visiting friends and relatives and attend taarab concerts and discos at night. Ramadan lasts for one full cycle of the moon (29-30 days) and is followed directly by Eid, which lasts for four days. In town, the festivities can be seen at the Mnazi Moja grounds across from the National Museum or at the Kariakoo fair grounds out by the Main Post Office.