BEIRUT: Fireworks cracked and families filled the streets in cities and towns around the country over the weekend as people celebrated Eid al-Fitr and the end of Ramadan.
The boulevards and sidewalks that meander along the Mediterranean Sea were again full of people after emptying during the daytime for the past month. Beirut and Sidon were filled with people of all ages walking, swimming, eating and playing games to celebrate the end of fasting.
Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, is typically marked by several special communal prayers and the paying of charity before those prayers are offered. People also take the time to be with friends and family.
There is a general feeling of celebration that is punctuated by the sizzles and bangs of fireworks throughout the cities and towns.
Children chased each other with sparklers and people dressed in some of their finest clothes to eat, drink and talk out in the streets.
Particularly in Sidon, the sea and coast has long been tied to the celebration of the Eid in the city. The seaside square is a favorite among people celebrating the holiday, and for generations has been tied to fond memories. Families prepared picnics on the corniche and smoked narghlieh, while others swam or took water taxi rides to the nearby island.
Besides elaborate restaurants and the corniche, amusement parks were also a major draw for families, filling up well into the night. Swings and Ferris wheels and amusement rides were sprinkled between stalls selling traditional sweets and food to the Eid revelers. There were competitions and races between children who want to ride the automated amusements.
Historical monuments around the country, such as the Castle of Sidon, also filled up with families looking for a fun during the holiday.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 21, 2012, on page 4.