“In my country, Eid is a big celebration,” says Mariem Ait Belhadj, Psychology student from Morocco. “We start the day with Eid prayers, after which we enjoy a delicious feast. Family comes together, everyone is happy and proud that they’ve managed to complete the whole month of fasting. In short, the whole country feels like partying.”

Three years ago, Belhadj moved to the Netherlands. Since then, the Islamic holiday hasn’t been a special event for her. “I don’t celebrate Eid here because you can’t feel the atmosphere anyway. In my first year I did buy Moroccan cookies though, just for the sake of memories.”

No celebration at student associations

KASEUR, the umbrella organisation of multicultural student societies at the EUR, doesn’t organise an Eid celebration either. “This year, as far as I know, we don’t have any activities for Eid. But it’s actually a good idea for the coming academic year,” says chairman Jennifer Onyenze.

The same applies to the association of Indonesian students, PPI Rotterdam. “PPI doesn’t have to organise anything because the Indonesian Embassy always ensures that we can celebrate Eid with them,” PPI member Fiandra Azzahra, a second year IBCom, explains.

On Eid day, most Indonesian students go to The Hague where, after Eid prayers, they are welcome to celebrate the holiday at the Indonesian Embassy. “The embassy always provides exquisite food and a cosy atmosphere,” says Azzahra. “So, for a day, we really do feel as though we’re at home.”

‘I (don’t) miss the celebration’

When asked if she misses the Eid celebration, Belhadj shakes her head. “No, I’m fully aware that it’s different here. It would feel artificial if I tried to celebrate Eid the way I did it in my home country.”

Eliz Hafaz has a different opinion. This year, Hafaz, a Turkish student born and raised in Bulgaria, celebrates her second Eid in the Netherlands. “I really miss the feel of Ramadan and Eid. Last year I didn’t do anything except go out with a Muslim friend, because I didn’t want to be alone during Eid.”

Fortunately, this year looks promising for Hafaz. “My brother is coming to visit me from Groningen. The next day, we’ll travel together to our parents in Bulgaria to celebrate Eid.”