A blend of colors and cultures as pilgrims mark Eid in Makkah

The cities of Makkah and Madinah have a long history of receiving pilgrims. (AN photo/Tariq Al-Thaqafi)
Updated 05 June 2019

A blend of colors and cultures as pilgrims mark Eid in Makkah

MAKKAH: The squares surrounding the Holy Mosque of Makkah turned into a scene full of colors today, as pilgrims from across the world spent Eid Al-Fitr in one of the holiest cities in Islam.

Children can be seen wearing a mix of traditional Saudi clothing, with young boys trying to decipher how to put on the traditional ghutra (headdress).

Indian pilgrim Mohammed Raihan noted that Indian pilgrims were eager to wear traditional Eid garments — he was wearing elegant attire rich in colors, though his peers prefer the “Kurta Pajama,” the formal white Indian outfit of the Muslim-majority of the state of Kerala.

Yaqoob Mohamed Abdullah, from Niger, said that his traditional wear consisted of three embroidered pieces — pants, hat and shirt. He explained that African heritage is all about blatant colors as an expression of the importance of the event.

Indian pilgrim Mohammed Atif noted that this was his first Eid spent abroad, and he found it completely different in terms of the sense of brotherhood and love among this melting pot of peoples, traditions, cultures and nationalities.

Embroidery

Another Indian pilgrim, Rahman Akbar, added that Indians, he felt, were attached to their traditions despite their contact with many cultures and their migration to Europe and America.

Zakia Hajji from Nigeria said she made sure to wear her lively traditional wear, consisting of a green headband with shiny embroidery on it, and long and loose cloaks. Traditional wear, she told Arab News, is very important, as men and women alike understand the meaning and importance of celebrating Eid.  

Fatima, from Malaysia, stated that many Muslim women wear long pants, skirts and head scarves, and that Malay women differ in tastes from the Indians who prefer to wear the sari and salwar, while men wear the “Kurta Pajama.” 

The cities of Makkah and Madinah have a long history of receiving pilgrims, with many of their customs and traditions still lingering and kept for people to enjoy, a home away from home for religious travelers. 

Indonesian, African, Indian, Afghan and Pakistani restaurants and specialty shops among others, can be found spread across the cities for pilgrims to visit and purchase items that remind them of home.


Saudi Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

Updated 19 October 2019

Saudi Embassy evacuates 300 tourists from Lebanon

  • The embassy said that evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety
  • Three Saudia aircraft were used to transport them

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia's embassy in Lebanon has confirmed it has facilitated the “evacuation of Saudi residents and visitors” from the country.
“The evacuation operation, imposed by the security situation in Lebanon and the importance of ensuring the safety of Saudi nationals, started Saturday at 5 a.m. after the Kingdom secured three Saudia aircraft to transport them,” the embassy told Arab News.
“Three hundred people were evacuated as of Saturday afternoon, while the total number of those wishing to leave remains unclear. We have identified a hotel in Beirut as a starting point,” it added, noting that most of those who had left were tourists.
The embassy also confirmed evacuees were escorted to Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut by Lebanese security forces to guarantee their safety.
Protests broke out in Lebanon on Thursday night, and disorder has disrupted roads leading to the airport, with burning tires blocking several key routes.
On Friday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged its citizens already in Lebanon to exercise “utmost caution.”
Egypt’s Embassy in Beirut also called on its nationals in the country to avoid protest areas, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.
“The embassy calls on all Egyptian citizens in Lebanon to avoid the areas of gatherings and protests, to be careful in their movements and to abide by the instructions of the Lebanese authorities in this regard,” MENA reported.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Embassy in Lebanon asked citizens wishing to travel to the country to delay trips where possible.
“The embassy also calls on citizens currently in Lebanon to take utmost care and stay away from crowds and demonstrations,” it said on social media site Twitter.
Bahrain and the UAE warned against travel to Lebanon and called on their citizens in the country to leave immediately.