What is Eid al-Fitr?
Eid al-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, begins the weekend following Ramadan. The exact date Eid is dependent on a combination of the sighting of the new moon and astronomical calculations. Furthermore, the time when Eid starts also depends on where you are in the world, and when the new moon is visible.
It is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. This religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality.
Traditionally Eid is celebrated for three days and is an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries. While the United States doesn’t observe Edi with any closures or shutdowns, many employers and schools allow time off for Muslim workers and children.
Muslims will gather together at the mosque for a prayer, prior to spending the day with friends and family – and wishing one another ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘Blessed Eid’. In fact, the standard greeting on this occasion is ‘Eid Mubarak’ which means “have a blessed Eid.” The celebration is the perfect opportunity for the Muslims to thank Allah for helping them get through the month-long fasting during the Ramadan holiday.
Eid is a time when Muslims pledge their gratitude to Allah by donating money to various charities and philanthropic efforts. Moreover, the celebration is also considered to be the ideal time for Muslims to forgive those who have wronged them. The idea of spiritual fasting is embraced and correlates with the new leaf the individual is essentially turning over. While the idea of helping those less fortunate is a common thread, it’s also a goal that Muslims aim to keep in check throughout the upcoming season of life.
In addition, to the charitable donations and mosque gatherings, Muslims rejoice by visiting friends and relatives, hosting food parties and sharing delicious deserts. Usually, children receive new clothes and shoes – some families also gift cash gifts, called eidi, to their elders and relatives. It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid.
Eid al Fitr is a rejoiceful day for Muslims. The day is truly a celebration because it signifies the fruits of their labor and sacrifice that took place during the Ramadan observance. What’s wonderful is the sense of community and unity that Eid brings forth.