What’s Eid Ul-Fitr?

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Eid ul-Fitr is a three-day celebration marking the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer for Muslims. It is a time for fellowship, socializing, and good wishes, with visitors from countries with large Muslim populations often joining in the celebrations. The festival involves prayer, gift-giving, forgiveness, and banquets, with rich foods and regional or family recipes. The holiday is also known as “Lesser Eid” and is a time to celebrate faith and enjoy the company of friends and family.

Eid ul-Fitr, or عيد الفطر, is a celebration held by Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan and to thank Allah for the strength he has given them to get through this traditional period of fasting. It lasts for three days, and is sometimes called “Lesser Eid” to contrast it with Aid ul-Adha, or “Greater Eid”, another important holiday for Muslims. The holiday is a time for fellowship, socializing and good wishes, and is celebrated with a variety of local traditions around the world. Visitors from countries with large Muslim populations are often drawn into the celebrations, with cries of Eid mubarak, which means ‘blessed Eid’, ringing in the streets.

Ramadan is a very serious time for Muslims, taking place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Celebrants fast during the day and pray frequently, meditating on the nature of faith and Allah. It is traditional to give gifts of alms and food to the poor during the month and to abstain from sins. This period of time can be very demanding, requiring self-sacrifice and personal discipline. Ramadan officially ends when the waxing moon of the 10th month of the Islamic calendar is sighted.

In Arabic, Eid means “festival” and Fitr means “breaking the fast”, so Eid ul-Fitr is literally a festival for breaking the fast. After the intense religious introspection and fasting of Ramadan, Muslims take Eid as an opportunity to have fun, celebrate their faith, and enjoy the company of friends and family. The festival can also get quite chaotic, with fireworks and gift distributions to friends and neighbors, along with music and dancing.

For the celebration, families purify themselves in the morning, eat a small meal, and then participate in prayer at a mosque. Traditionally, celebrants offer alms to the mosque for distribution to the poor before the start of Eid prayers; these alms are known as Zakat ul-Fitr. After prayer and a sermon, festivities begin, with celebrants typically visiting each other in their best attire to exchange gifts and commemorate friendship. Eid is also a traditional time for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Since Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, banquets are an important part of this Muslim holiday. There are no universally traditional Eid foods, but the holiday typically includes rich foods that may not have been eaten during Ramadan, along with elaborate regional or family recipes. Invitations to parties and dinners are common, and people often take a day off work to spend time celebrating.

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