Korité is celebrated in Guinea-Bissau with much religious fervour and general merriment. This celebration is also known as Eid al-Fitr here and in many other parts of the world.
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The national holiday comes on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, immediately following the holy month of Ramadan and month-long period of fasting, prayer and devotion. It is one of the most important of all Muslim commemorations.
Guinea-Bissau has both Islamic and Christian holidays on its calendar, reflecting its mixed religious make-up. Christianity is espoused by some 60 percent of the population, with 40 percent being Muslim.
To the Muslims of Guinea-Bissau, Korité is a high holy day and a much-anticipated religious festivity. The public holiday is on the first day of the month of Shawwal, but actually, the first three days of that month are a time of celebration.
Attending Salat, meaning communal prayers, at the break of day is the traditional way to begin Korité. An Eid message will be heard at the mosque, and then it’s home again to get ready for a hefty feast! Many give gifts to small children on this day, don new attire, and exchange Eid greeting cards. Some also visit and tend to the graves of deceased ancestors.