The Muslim holiday is observed globally and is celebrated for three days.
The annual Eid Al Fitr, a highly anticipated time of the year for some two billion Muslims around the world, is celebrated by various cultures in different ways.
Whether enjoying the car parades in Qatar, public get together in the streets of Egypt or watching the fireworks light up the night’s skies in Jordan, the sound of Eid songs is regularly heard in the background.
In the Middle East and North Africa, some of the top pop artists from the region have created powerful tracks that have served for years as the sounds of Eid.
Without further ado, here are five prominent Eid songs from the MENA region.
1- ‘Ahlan Ahlan Bel Eid’ — Safaa Abul Saud
“Ahlan Ahlan Bel Eid” is an Egyptian song that translates to “welcome, welcome Eid” and has become a key slogan for for the holiday.
According to Egyptian media, the song dates back to 1982 and was produced within 15 days and was inspired by renowned artist Umm Kulthum’s “Ya Leilet El Eid”, which translates to “O Eid’s eve”
“I always listed to the song Ya Leilet El eid by Umm Kulthum, and it was the only song that was repeated during the holiday, and I used to see that it was intended for adults, and I asked myself why there was no such song for children about the holiday,” composer Jamal Salama had told Cairo’s media.
2- ‘Ya Leilet El Eid’ — Umm Kulthum
Egyptian legend Umm Kulthum’s “Ya Leilet El Eid” is one of the earliest songs in the region to ever be written about the holiday.
Known as “the planet of the East”, Umm Kulthum is among the region’s most renowned artists and is widely deemed as an immortal voice of the Middle East.
Dating back to 1937, the song was written when Umm Kulthum heard one of the street vendors in front of a radio building repeating the words “O Eid’s eve, you’ve delighted us.” Those same words then became the chorus of the song that has continued to live through numerous generations.
The lyrics describe the fresh start that comes with Eid following the holy month of Ramadan, as well as the joy it brings to those who celebrate the holiday.
3- ‘Min Al Ayadeen W Min Alfaizeen’ — Mohammed Abdu
The Arab Gulf region later began creating its own Eid songs, the most prominent of which was by Khaleeji and Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu, widely known as “the artist of the Arabs”.
In 1971, Abdu released “Min Al Ayadeen W Min Alfaizeen”, which is a common Eid greeting in the Gulf region that translates to “we wish you Eid celebrations and hope you gain its blessings”.
4- ‘Yal Aydo’ — Abdulaziz Nasser
“Yal Aydo”, or “O Eid”, by the late Qatari musician Abdulaziz Nasser has become ingrained in the memories of Qataris and generations of expats who lived for years in the Gulf state.
The song was slightly altered over the years, but it has held its position as the main song used by state-run Qatar Television throughout the holiday.
The esteemed Qatari musician won the special Gold Opera Award at the 2014 Academy Awards for Opera and Classical Singing in Doha, two years before he died at the age of 64.
5- ‘Ayam El Aid’ — Fairuz
Last but not least, regional icon Fairuz added her own unique touch to Eid celebrations, especially in the Levant region.
The prominent Lebanese artist’s song “Ayam El Eid”, which translates to “the days of Eid”, has left its own mark on many generations.
The song depicts Fairuz’s role as the voice of unity in the region as it celebrates holidays of both Muslims and Christians – both of which use of the word Eid, which generally translates to “holiday” in Arabic.
Analysts have long seen Fairuz as a timeless voice of solace and unity, and a companion for every Arab diaspora.
“She’s ephemeral, she’s someone who grows with time. She’s someone who moves through space, moves through time[…]understanding her constantly changes,” Dr. Dima Issa, Lebanese researcher of pop culture, previously told Doha News.