Korité is celebrated in Niger 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.
Niger celebrates all major Islamic observances as public holidays, including the auspicious Korité. This is unsurprising, given that 99 percent of the people follow Islam.
The background to Korité is the month of Ramadan, which ends just before the holiday begins. Ramadan is the month during which Muslim tradition says the angel Gabriel revealed the first parts of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad. As such, it is a time to fast, pray, and focus on the Koran’s teachings.
But the next month, Shawwal, is a time to celebrate the completion of the Ramadan fast. The first day of Shawwal is a national holiday, and the first three days are usually reserved for festive activities. Korité is a time to be thankful to Allah, to hold communion with family and friends, and to remember those less fortunate through the charitable “zakat” donation.