The simple pleasures of Eid: Family, flowers and piles of sweets

Story highlights

  • Eid, or Eid al-Fitr, marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting in Islam
  • We asked for readers' best Eid memories and photos via CNN iReport
  • Photos showing local Eid celebrations flooded in from Trinidad and Tobago to India
  • Food, family, celebration and charity were some of the most important themes

For the world's Muslims, the festival of Eid al-Fitr is a perfect conclusion to Ramadan -- the month-long period of fasting and contemplation practiced by observers of Islam around the globe. One of the most festive periods in the religion's calendar, Eid is often commemorated with large feasts, family-time, and through charitable acts and donations.

As part of CNN's series celebrating the most spectacular festivals and events across the globe, we asked our readers to share their images of Eid traditions, both past and present. In response, we discovered a rich narrative of the holiday, and customs as diverse as the people who celebrate them.

For Yassir O. Nassif in Saudi Arabia, Eid means measuring his three-year-old son Mazin up for new clothes, in this case a brand new customized thobe, a traditional ankle length garment commonly worn in Gulf countries. But the holiday is not just about the outfits -- it's about the family, he says.

Sweet Eid: Breaking the fast with world's tastiest treats

"We have scheduled breakfasts, lunches and dinners -- I never knew how exhausting it was on my parents until I became one myself," he said. "But I enjoyed it as a kid and would love my children to have the same pleasures. After all it's only three days, better make the best of them and make each day count!"

The wearing of new clothes and looking one's best for the festivities can, for women, extend to the hennaing of hands -- a ritual captured by Laurens Meulman while visiting Agra, home of the iconic Taj Mahal in India.

"The henna-painted hands of one of the women in the group caught my eye and I asked her if I could to take a photo," Meulman said. Though not Muslim herself, she says the holiday always reminds her of "good food, sweets, sharing, being with family and generosity. "

In Malaysia, family preoccupied the thoughts of Dina Syazwani Sipal Anuwar, a 24-year-old teacher from Selangor who sent in an image via Instagram of her family in matching colored clothes celebrating Eid last year.

The photo is particularly poignant for Dina as it was the last Eid her father, Sipal, a policeman, was able to spend with his family before he unexpectedly passed away in January.

"I think it was one of the signs that father would leave us, the last Eid we could take a perfect photo as a whole family," she said.

CNN Celebrates: View all Eid photos on iReport

Respect and appreciation for others was also on the mind of graphic designer Anupama Kinagi in Mumbai, India, when he captured this affectionate moment outside a mosque in the city and related a poignant custom put on by local authorities.

He said that the police officer outside the mosque "especially arranges for rose flowers to greet Muslims outside on this special day," he says. "Muslims accept their wishes and thank them for their extraordinary service."

Of course, after a month of fasting, food takes center stage. Libyan-American Sammi Addahoumi, currently spending his summer in the Libyan city of Benghazi, satisfies his sweet tooth with delicious sweets made in a local bakery.

Kunafah are mouth-watering Arabic sweets extremely popular during Eid. It has several variations according to the part of the Middle East where it is served. All have one thing in common -- they are delicious.

"Whether stacked or braided, stuffed with nuts or cream, it's always saturated for a period of time in syrup before it is ready for the public," he said.