For some AJA members, it is not Eid without gatherings, maamoul or Beshbarmak

By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid
President, Ais Journalists Association

CAIRO: The last days of April and the first days of May were very special for the members of the Asia Journalists Association (AJA), the umbrella for journalists across Asia and well beyond it.

On April 25-26, members participated in the annual World Journalists Conference (WJC2022) organized by the Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) and held in a hybrid format due to the COVID health and travel protocols.

On May 1, it was Labour Day. On May 2 in some countries and on May 3 in others, it was the start of the Eid, the feast held at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. On May 3. It was Press Freedom Day.

Here, we share views expressed by some members on how they spent their Eid …


Nasir (Malaysia):

This year my family and I celebrated Eidul Fitri in Miri, Sarawak on the Island of Borneo. It’s some 2hrs 20mins from Kuala Lumpur by flight across the South China Sea.

Our first day of Eid was spent with my wife’s immediate family. After solat Eid (Eid prayers), we did family tahlil, recite surat Yaasin (Chapter from Quran) and say du’a (oral prayers) for our beloved who have passed away.

We also entertained close relatives and next-door neighbours. Over food and drinks, we chatted and updated each other on latest development within each other’s’ family.

The main topic, as it has been most favourite since years ago, was who got married who and the new additions to the family… just to update the family tree.

Staying far away from the village or town of our roots, it is quite difficult to keep up in such info. So, Eid gathering is always the best time. In my family and also on my wife’s side, we treat this family-tree (old style family chart drafted labouriously on cowhide has been replaced with the one kept and saved online) very importantly.


Norila (Malaysia):

Family gathering on third day of Eid Mubarak. Travelled about 50KM from Kuala Lumpur just to meet up with my beloved sisters, brothers and grandchildren of my two brothers on the third day of Eid Mubarak. Felt very happy after two years did not celebrate Eid due to the pandemic.


Nasir (Pakistan):

Family gathering during Eid brought together relatives, celebrations and numerous conversations


Ashraf (Egypt):

Three days before the end of the blessed month of Ramadan, I returned to Cairo, after a trip to the Republic of Togo. I was there as a participant in the first international literary symposium dealing with the contribution of African literature to the sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations.

As my travel back to Egypt over two days coincided with the World Journalists Conference that I hold dear in my heart, I extended my stay in Togo. I did not want to be at the mercy of airports and planes and might miss the conference.


I took home with me Togolese shirts that we wore on the first day of the Eid. The aim is to have an Egyptian celebration with an African flavor.

My wife, Fatima Al-Zahraa Hassan, the Egyptian TV director, and my two daughters, Huda and Fadwa, joined me in the celebration. From Wadi Degla Club in Cairo, I congratulated my friends and friends.


Hassan (Germany):

I spent Eid day at the laboratory with students from Africa. It was a good occasion to share knowledge about testing.

There is no celebration of Eid in Europe as we are committed to working during weekdays.


In fact, we journalists, columnists, writers …, we have a different concept of work. Even when we want to relax, we write an article or something else.

Happy and joyous Eid to all.


Bilal (France):

Our Eid in Europe is special as we celebrate it while working since there is no holiday. Eid is the most beautiful opportunity to sit with the family and enjoy talking with all members.

Lebanese / French artist and art critic Bilal Basal sent a greeting card skillfully produced with his brush to congratulate on Eid Al-Fitr. Bilal has contributed to the covers of Magazine N, published by the Asian Journalists Association.



Ghina (Lebanon):

Lebanese artist and writer Mrs. Ghina Mahmoud Halek, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on my visit to Beirut three years ago, sent a picture of the traditional Eid cakes in Lebanon “Maamoul”.


Habib (Bahrain):

This Eid was special as it was my first in Kyrgyzstan, a country with a rich culture, long-standing traditions and a remarkable sense of generosity and hospitality.

The culinary delights, the tolerant attitudes and the Eid prayers were an occasion to see how deeply attached to their roots and values the people of Kyrgyzstan are.

On Eid day, our gracious and graceful hostess Nurzhan cooked the lunch (with some assistance from her daughter) and it was the national dish of Kyrgyzstan- Beshbarmak.

Beshbarmak means “five fingers” and it got its name from the fact that nomads traditionally eat this dish with their hands.


Of course, I tried to keep up with the name and the tradition and it was my first time in years that I ate “noodles” off my fingers.

It was a challenge and I took it under the watchful (and encouraging) eyes of Nurzhan, her son Bekjan and her son-in-law Ermek.

The lunch was superb and I discovered that Nurzhan is also an outstanding cook.


Khalid (Egypt) and Saida (Tunisia):

The Tunisian capital brought together a happily-married couple, writer and critic Khalid Suleiman, the correspondent of AsiaN in Tunisia, from Egypt and his wife, the consultant of the audiovisual content of the Arabic version of AsiaN, coming from the city of Bizerte north of Tunis the capital.

When you visit their home in Tunisia, you will not be able to differentiate between their original civilizations or cultures, starting from the simplest things in the festive and cultural aspects of food to as far as you can imagine.

Such concepts were manifested during the blessed month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, where all things coexisted and mixed in a house decorated with Ramadan lanterns and decorations from Egypt.

Their table was covered with Tunisian and Egyptian food, sweets and drinks in an amazing display of the culinary richness of the two cultures that merged in a beautiful home filled with love and compassion.


Hani Nadeem, the Syrian poet, publisher and editor in chief at 4Good said that during Eid Al Fitr he was on assignment, working on a documentary about the types of stone architecture in the Peninsula.

“The Eid was thus spent between the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and I remembered our last trip to Korea and its colorful, captivating homes that are always remembered. Greetings to our extended family around the world. I hope we meet soon.”

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