Eid Al-Fitr, the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast, First Three Days of the Month of Shawal
This celebration, held after the month-long fasting of Ramadan, lasts for three days following the appearance of the crescent moon. The holiday, the most popular in Islam, includes a feast featuring couscous with raisins and onions, and desserts such as dates, raisins, and round sesame or almond cookies called ghoribas.
The essence: A joyous culmination after a month of self-reflection.
Jonkonnu Festival, Christmas Season
First celebrated in West Africa in the early 1700s, the Jonkonnu Festival (or Johnkankus) was brought to the United States and the Caribbean by slaves. In costumes made from found objects and rags, men and women paraded through town, chanting, singing, and dancing to the beat of drums and other instruments. Today the rite lives on in Jamaica.
The essence: A show of strength and pride amid adversity.