Burmese Muslims‘ way of celebrating Eid

Burmese Muslims‘ way of celebrating Eid

Source :http://drkokogyi.wordpress.com/

In Burma/Myanmar, Eid ul-Fitr lasts for only one day of celebration for the Burmese Muslims. We call this day as Eid Nei’ (Nei’=day) or Eid Ka Lay (Ka Lay=small) or Shai Mai Eid (because Shai Mai or sayviah/ sweet vermicelli served with fried cashews, coconut shreds, raisins with milk is the main Burmese Muslim traditional food cooked during the Burmese Muslim Eids).
Although it is never a gazetted public holiday in Myanmar, most of the bosses have an understanding on the Burmese Muslims and usually even willing to give an unrecorded holiday to the Muslim staff. And they even used to take time off during the office hour to visit their Muslim staff usually also accompanied by other non-Muslim staff under them.
As there is no single Islamic authority in Myanmar to give a decision, it is sometimes difficult to get an agreement about the sighting of the moon for the Eid or the start of Ramadan. So even in a small town or a village, Eid could be celebrated on different days. So it is difficult for the successive governments to declare a holiday on Eid ul-Fitr.
But the Eid al-Adha “Festival of Sacrifice” or “Greater Eid” is a gazetted public Holiday. Burmese Muslims could celebrate as this annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for one day only in Burma. It is easy for the Myanmar governments to declare a holiday because sighting of the moon is ten day’s earlier and the Eid al-Adha could be celebrate for three days. Usually they fixed the date following the Saudi authorities as Haj is more important for all of us.
Burmese Muslims are used to recite the Takbir during the prayers at Mosques, not loudly, all throughout the three day’s period of Eid.
Burmese Muslims are from Hanafi sect of Sunni Muslims. So we perform EidSalaah as Wajib (necessary and therefore to deliberately miss them is a sin) Namaz (Salaah) two rakat with six extra Takbirs only.
During Eid, the traditional greeting is giving Salaam only or sometimes saying Eid Mubarak. We say Assalamualaikum from the mouth and put our right hand on the forehead as if giving a salute, but usually there is no shaking hands and rarely only includes a formal embrace. Gifts or foods are frequently given to the elder relatives and even non-Muslim bosses and authorities, new clothes are traditionally meant for the family members and the workers or staff only but Burmese Muslim elders used to give Eidi to all the children. Children used to get more from their parents, quite a lot from the wealthy near relatives and friends but at least a token sum of small amount of money even from the strangers especially if they go around the neighborhood in groups purposely just to collect Eidi.
It is common for children and young people to go around giving “salaam” to parents, elder relatives and other elders in the neighborhood. During the Eid Burmese Muslims used to ask forgiveness from elders and try to forgive and forget the misunderstandings amongst each other. Asking for forgiveness is usually done to the parents and elders.

The followings are the delicacies Burmese Muslims usually cook for the Eid:

  1. Burmese Muslims bake the Sa-Nwin-Ma-Kin or Burmese Semolina Cake [1] or Semolina Pudding or (Kuih) Sooji, using Sooji (Semolina), eggs, cream of wheat (Semolina), coconut cream, sugar, raisins and milk. It is topped with sesame seeds and baked with the charcoal slow fire above and below to made them like brownie golden cakes.[2]
  2. This is also made as a delicacies called Halwa(In Burma this is referred to a loose form,something like smashed potato)without baking into a hard or firmer cake.
  3. Danbauk [dan pauʔ]) Htamin or Burmese Biryani [3] Burmese-style biryani with either chicken or mutton served with mango pickle, fresh mint and green chili. It is also a Burmese Muslim favorite food cooked during Eid. Popular ingredients are cashew nuts, yogurt, raisins and peas, chicken, cloves, cinnamon, saffron and bay leaf. In Burmese biryani, the chicken is cooked with the rice. [10] Biryani is also eaten with a salad of sliced onions and cucumber.
  4. Htawbat htamin, rice made with butter and mostly eaten with chicken curry.
  5. Mohinga
  6. Lahpet
  7. Various types of Khow suey, Burmese Khow Suey – Indian Style [4], are famous.
  8. Panthay khao swè [panθei kʰauʔ swɛ]), halal noodles with chicken and spices, often served by Chinese Muslims
  9. Ohn-no khao swè [ounnouʔ kʰauʔswɛ]), curried chicken and wheat noodles in a coconut milk broth similar to Malaysian laksa and Chiang Mai’s khao soi
  10. Seejet khao swè [sʰi tʃʰɛʔ kʰauʔ swɛ]), wheat noodles with duck or pork, fried garlic oil, soy sauce and chopped spring onions
  11. Jin thohk [dʒin θouʔ]), ginger salad with sesame seeds
  12. Jarzan hin, [dʒazan hin]) glass noodle soup with chicken, wood-ear mushrooms, dried flowers, onions, boiled egg, garnished with coriander, thin-sliced onions, crushed dried chilli and a dash of lime (Mandalay).
  13. Jauk-kyaw [tʃaoʔtʃau]), agar jelly usually set in two layers with coconut milk.
  14. Montletsaung [moun̰leʔsʰaun]), tapioca balls, glutinous rice, grated coconut and toasted sesame with jiggery syrup in coconut milk
  15. Samusa [sʰa mu sʰa̰]), Burmese-style samosa with mutton and onions served with fresh mint, green chilli, onions and lime
  16. Samusa thohk ‌ [sʰa mu sʰa̰ θouʔ]), samosa salad with onions, cabbage, fresh mint, potato curry, masala, chili powder, salt and lime.
  17. Shai Mai or Sa Wai or sayviah/ sweet vermicelli served with fried cashews, coconut shreds, raisins with milk is the main Burmese Muslim traditional food cooked during the Burmese Muslim Eids)

Sometimes Burmese Muslims pray or perform Eid salah (we called Eid Namaz)at Eidgah or Idgah at the open spaces outside or in the cities. Usually Burmese Muslim women are not allowed to pray together at the Masjids or Eidgah.

Traditionally Burmese Muslim women are also not allowed to enter the graveyards.
Burmese Muslims are usually forbidden by the religious authorities from decorating their homes with the lights, lamps or colourful electric bulbs. Both the children and the adults are also advised by the religious elders not to celebrate with the fireworks and firecrackers. Wishing friends and relatives with the Eid cards or sending Eid cards through internet is just a newly acquired culture for the Burmese Muslims.

One thought on “Burmese Muslims‘ way of celebrating Eid

  1. kyawkyawoo says:

    I think Burmese Muslims celebration of Eid Ul Fitr is mixture of west Asian culture and Burmese Culture. Foods are mostly Burmese version Barayani ( known as Dan Pauk), and Sanwin Makin and Kyauk Kyaw ( Halwa cake/ Banana Cake/ and Jelly).
    Special treat for Eif Ul Fitr is undeniably,Shai Mai or Sa Wai or sayviah/ sweet vermicelli served with fried cashews, coconut shreds, as the author mentioned in very early part of his post.
    Most of our non Muslim friends will come over to our houses as during those old days the faith is not the barrier for the friendship in Burma.

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