For many years the term, “Eid Mubarak” had triggered both the Muslim and the non-Muslim ears. This term means “blessed festival” and it is often heard after the holy month of Ramadan. Keep reading to find out Top 5 things you need to know about Eid Al-Fitr
1. What’s behind the name?
“The Festival of breaking the fast” is the literal translation of “Eid Al-Fitr” from Arabic to English; referring to the ending of the fasting period of Ramadan.
2. When is it?
Eid Al-Fitr has no fixed day during the year. It begins on the first day of Shawwal which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar which is determined by the lunar cycles.
The exact date of Eid Al-Fitr is based on the first sighting of a new moon.
Eid Al-Fitr begins very early in the morning just a few hours after the sunrise with Eid’s prayer.
3. How does it start?
To keep in line with the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, Muslims must shower and wear some of their best clothing maybe even buy new clothes, then they eat something simple before going with their family and friends to the communal prayer in the Mosque.
The Imam starts the prayer by chanting Eid Takbirs and he is always joined by little boys to chant with him.
It’s a must to express joy and happiness with Eid and let go of the grumpy face. Even the month Shawwal comes from the Arabic word “Shawl” which means that the month carries away the sadness and sorrow.
4. How to celebrate?
A way of expressing that joy is by giving “Eidia” which means giveaways to women and children. Eidia is usually given as cash and sweets, but any small gesture of giving is considered as Eidia. Even a balloon to a child is a very fine Eidia.
The Muslims are obligated to help the poor and those who are less fortunate by giving “Zakat Al-Fitr”. Prophet Muhammad ordered that Zakat must be paid before people go to offer Eid Prayer just so that the poor can actually participate in the festivities.
Zakat Al-Fitr comes in money or food or clothing as a purification of your fasting period from idle talk and foul language that one speaks unintentionally. Zakat is often paid by the head of the family on behalf of the rest of the family members.
The Eid biscuits are the fun, delicious part every family awaits for. Families gather to bake the delicious soft buttery oriental biscuits while singing and dancing about one week before Eid Starts, so after the prayer, everyone would enjoy a nice cup of tea along with these doughy yummy snow cookies which are sugar powder cookies filled with Turkish delight or pressed dates.
5. How long is it?
Eid Al-Fitr usually lasts for 3 days, but depending on the day that it actually falls on based on the year, Eid Al-Fitr can last for a longer period; if the three days fall in the middle of the week, Muslims will most likely be still celebrating Eid over the weekend.
What about you? Do you know anyone who celebrates Eid Al-Fitr? Don’t forget to tell them “Eid Mubarak”.