SIDON: Eid al-Fitr celebration was infectious in local Sidon hospitals Wednesday as NGOs paid visits to young patients, distributing gifts and organizing holiday activities.
Children from the Islamic Council Orphanage distributed gifts to young patients forced to celebrate Eid from their hospital bed.
Al-Ri’ayya NGO sent a delegation of children, animated characters and magicians to Sidon’s Hammoud University Hospital to spread some holiday joy.
The children sent by the NGO where dressed in luminous white dresses and wore flower crowns on their heads, resembling little brides.
People dressed in Mickey Mouse and animal costumes and took pictures with patients.
The NGO distributed piles of gifts in the hospitals common room.
Faces painted and full of smiles, the children cheered as the magician Miska dazzled the crowd with his performance.
“Today’s activities are being carried out with the spirit of social responsibility and charity, and is something the hospital manages to do periodically in order to serve society” said Diana Hammoud, chairman of the hospital.
Outside, holiday bustle swept Sidon’s old markets as customers snaked around crowds that had gathered in the narrow streets to finalize preparations for Eid al-Fitr festivities.
Hasan Ramadan rushed to the local hairdresser to have his hair cut before Eid, as his mother Naziha said that haircuts were a holiday tradition because “kids should look descent,” at the arrival of Eid.
Meanwhile a little girl rummaged through a pile of multi-colored hair scrunchies, picking out a color scheme that would best match her floral dress.
Mustapha’s yelling voice hovered over the market, as he called customers to purchase holiday candy and chocolate.
“The situation is perfect. Sales are good. I have decreased prices to L.L. 5,000 per kilogram of candy and L.L. 8,000L.L per kilogram of chocolate...let the poor eat,” said Mustapha.
Leila Fawzi streamed through the crowded market, eyeing the window panes for clothes.
“I have come all the way from Iqlim al-Kharroub [Mount Lebanon], to buy clothes for my children,” said Fawzi, thankful that the government had paid public wages before the holiday was set to start.
Sidon’s celebrations extended to the city’s shoe market - Souk al Kandarjiyah - which specializes in mending old shoes.
“My husband’s salary doesn’t allow us to buy everything,” said a female customer at one of the shops, adding that she has “already bought clothes for my three kids and now here I am fixing their shoes and then getting them repainted.”
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan-the Islamic holy month during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.
Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by greeting friends and relatives. Celebrations typically last three days, during which families visit each other and children are given new clothes and toys.