One of the most widely celebrated Muslim holidays is Eid al-Fitr . As we read, in the month of Ramadan, , Muslims observe a strict fast. They also do pious activities such as charity. End of Ramadan is celebrated by breaking the fast. This is Eid al-Fitr.
When Is Eid Al-Fitr?
According to Hijri calender, Eid al-Fitr falls on the first day of the month of 'Shawwal', which follows ramadan in the Islamic calendar.
The movement of the moon determies the The Islamic or Hijri calendar and its months. Instead of 365 or 366 days, there are 354 days in a Lunar year. Each month has 29 or 30 days, beginning when the crescent moon appears in the sky. As there is a difference of 11 days compared to the Gregorian solar calendar, Ramadan shifts forward 11 days each year. Accordingly, even the Eid al-Fitr festival also changes.
After the victory in the battle of Jang-e-Badr, Eid al-Fitr was firstcelebrated in the year 624 CE by the Prophet Mohammad and his followers. Other people think, The festival marks the end of the fast and may not be linked to any specific historical event.
The Meaning of Eid al-Fitr
Muslims also consider Eid al-Fitr as a time for charity to those in need. It is also a big 'family and friends' festival where people travel from far away places in order to be home. This is similar to Thanks Giving foir Christians. Ramadan has a devoted calm feel to it. In contrast, Eid al-Fitr is marked by joyful happiness. Muslims usually celebrate Eid for up to three days.
Muslim families also share their good fortune with other relatives or completely unknown people who need help. Eid al-Fitr ends the the month-long non-indulgence with festive celebrations. As mentioned, there is a big contrast with Ramadan and focus is on celebration rather than devotion.
How Eid al-Fitr Is Observed
During the last few days of Ramadan, Muslims must calculate and give 'Zakat' , which is calculated defined amount based on their income and wealth as a donation to the poor. This can be food or something similar rather than money to ensure that the needy are able to enjoy a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. Especially in Muslim countries, the Eid-Ul-Fitr is celebrated wit great pomp and the entire period is a public Holiday.
Special Eid prayers are held in the morning in large outdoor locations or mosques. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. Each branch of Islam have a different pattern and number of segments of the prayer. There after people go for traditional shopping for sweets.
Muslims also use this time to visit various family and friends. Children are especially happy as they get. It is also a sombre time to make visits to graveyards. People also phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. A common way to greart is by saying "Eid Mubarak!"
Usually, the activities continue for three days. In many Muslim countries, the entire three-day period is an official government/school holiday. Families go out for dinners and great banquets are held. They also place candles or lanterns around the houses. Many big building also carry Duas from the Quran. All the Family members wear traditional clothes. Especially children can be seen wearing their best and newest clothes.