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Eid Around The World: Tradition By Diaspora in Germany

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Eid-al-Fitr around the world Indonesian Diaspora or overseas Indonesians are Indonesians who live outside of Indonesia. This term applies to people who were born in Indonesia and of Indonesian blood who have  permanent or temporary citizens in a foreign country.  Diaspora is a group that has its own characteristics because they are people who are accustomed to different living environment. One of unique characteristic is how they celebrate Eid Al Fitr or Qurban around the world. Eid Around The World: tradition by diaspora in Germany will be discussed in this article.

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There are at least 27000 students who are currently studying in Germany, some of those students are Muslims, combined with other non-students Muslims who are living in there, these people create a large size of Muslim Diaspora in that country. Many of those Muslims will not be able to go home to spend time with their family in Eid because the distance is too far and Germany does not have Eid holiday so they will not have time to leave for long time anyway. Instead, Indonesian Muslims in German can get together and celebrate with the fellow Muslims in there. The Eid atmosphere in there can be very different than that of in Indonesia.

Differences of Eid Celebration Compared to in Indonesia

  1. The fasting month, the holy month Ramadan before Eid al Fitr,  in Europe usually  falls in the summer. It can be very physically abusive,  evenfor devout Muslims. Fasting in Europe with extreme weather will be very challenging but it may add to your faith or iman if you run it with sincerity. In Germany, Eid is usually referred to as Zuckerfest. In English it translates to nothing which is related to Islamic term actually, it will be very disconnected and there is no impression of Islam. However Zuckerfest is named that way because  Zucker means sugar, fest means celebration. Yes, Eid al-Fitr in German is called as sugar celebration. Some say that it’s called Zuckerfest because maybe German people know that Ramadan is very hard to live, and at the end of the month of Ramadan is sweet as sweet as sugar since Muslims are finally freed from the hardship, so they celebrate it by eating sweet things. The other say that many Turks who live in Germany like to celebrate Eid by eating sweet food.
  2. Eid is not a Germany national holiday. In Indonesia Eid Al Fitr is one of longest holiday its citizen can have. In Germany, this major Islamic holy day is unfortunately not considered as vacation time. You don’t get any day off if Eid falls on weekdays. You only get day off on Eid if the day coincides with holidays, for example labor day or father’s day. So, after Eid prayer, if it is a working day, the workers will return to the office and the students will have to come to class again. Not as merry as in Indonesia where we will go to Halal Bihalal after Eid prayers.
  3. No Eid holiday bonuses. In Indonesia we are very familiar with the term of THR where workers will receive extra salary from the company so that the worker can use the money to celebrate the most merry day for Muslims. Instead of on Eid, the workers will receive extra benefits at Christmas, so it is totally the opposite from the condition in Indonesia where Christians will receive bonuses on Eid day.
  4. There is no Mudik, new clothing, Ketupat or Halal Bihalal. Again, since Germany does not acknowledge that Eid Al Fitr as a holiday. The Muslim Diaspora, especially those of whom from Indonesia will miss out the traditional familiar atmosphere of Eid.

How does it feel as Indonesian to elebrate Eid in Germany

Nevertheless, it does not mean that Muslims, especially Indonesian Muslims, lack the means to deal with it. Indonesian people will usually pray Eid and eat together in a designated place. In Munich, there was a building like the Islamic Center, where one of the rooms was rented for Indonesian religious activities. In a room that did not look like a mosque or mosque, we prayed, listened to lectures, and greeted each other. In Hamburg, it is usually done at the Consulate General. If they know that Zuckerfest falls on a weekday, usually they will ask for a day off so they can pray Eid and Eid peacefully.

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It is a little bit sad to imagine Eid without family. There are no gatherings with relatives, no visits to neighbors, no tasting for the Eid traditional snacks. It is hard to imagine that during Eid which is usually used for family gatherings, forgiving one another, and rejoicing at seeing large families sitting and talking together, sometimes also getting envelopes, now it becomes alone and far from the family. Therefore, establishing a community of fellow Indonesians, creating the diaspora community, can be very helpful in overcoming the disappointment and longing of Eid al-Fitr in hometown.  The community usually will cook and make cakes together, or take a day off and go out of town together with friends or fellow Muslims.

How to ease the longing for home on Eid al-Firt in Germany

Eid around the world: tradition by diaspora in Germany is not a barrier for the Indonesian Muslim community to celebrate Eid al-Fitr together. Although it is not a national holiday, the Indonesian Muslim community can always coordinate so that Indonesian Muslims can immitate the Idul Fitri atmosphere like in the country. Indonesian citizens who work generally will take time off on Eid, whereas for students and school children usually they (or students’ parents) will ask for permission to celebrate Eid or just to be able to carry out Eid prayers at the mosque. Even in some Kindergarten and schools that have many Muslim students usually hold a Zuckerfest event together. Not only that, religious tolerance is also shown by not only Muslim students who attend the Zuckerfest event. but students of other religions. Indeed, religious tolerance in Germany is quite high. They also enjoyed Zuckerfest’s special meal while chatting and discussing the culture of each nation when implementing Zuckerfest. A sight that is very pleasing to the eye and very conciliatory to the heart.

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If Eid al-Fitr does not fall on weekends, usually the Indonesian Muslim community shifts the celebrations to the nearest weekend. However, the Indonesian Muslim community continues to hold Eid Al-Fitr prayers in the mosque around them right on the 1st of Shawwal. Then, what did the Indonesian Muslim community do during Eid in Germany? In general, the implementation of Eid al-Fitr celebrations carried out in their respective cities or a combination of several cities and of course at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia. If the Shawwal falls on weekends, the Eid Al-Fitr committees will invite Indonesian Muslims in their area to pray Eid al-Fitr in congregation, stay in touch, and have lunch together.

Just like how it originally is in Indonesia, special Eid meals can also be enjoyed in Germany. A menu of ketupat, chicken opor, rendang, liver fried sambal, curry goat, pastries such as nastar, kastengel, snow princess cookies, and cheese sticks also can be seen on the table during Eid. Of course it is not as easy to buy such foods in Germany, unlike in Indonesia right before Eid with its sales and discounts. The Indonesian Muslims there come from many etniticy and they can exchange food recipes. And not only that, the children also continue to maintain the Angpao envelope culture. Children will receive small change inside a pocket so that the event becomes more lively and cheerful.

All activities coordinated by each city are usually funded independently by the Indonesian Muslim community, can be from infaq and sodaqoh the. The atmosphere of togetherness and mutual cooperation is very thick and they can be seen when all elements of the community work together, ranging from students, mothers, to Indonesian families working in Germany and sometimes even the native German would help to make the event more cheery. The aim is none other than to recreate the atmosphere of Eid as they were in their hometown . Longing for the homeland can be treated with the presence of friends who seem to have become their own families, despite different ethnicities, ages, and educational and social backgrounds.

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