The final night of Ramadan has arrived and Eid-Al-Fitr is fast approaching, as Muslims prepare for celebrations around the globe.
Eid al-Fitr is calculated in accordance with the sighting of the new moon by the Saudi Arabia moon-sighting committee and is typically announced by local Mosques.
The crescent moon was not sighted in Saudi Arabia on Struday 30th April, therefore Eid al-Fitr will now be marked and celebrated on Monday 2nd May.
Why does the date change?
Each year the Islamic Lunar calendar is typically shorter than the Solar calendar by 10-12 days and usually Eid and Ramadan rotate and are celebrated in different seasons of the year. However, the precise timings and dates change from country to country, depending on the geographical location.
Festival of Breaking Fast
Eid-Al-Fitr, also known as the ‘Festival of Breaking Fast’ is the first of two Eids in the Islamic calendar and is typically celebrated after the Muslim fasting month, known as Ramadan.
Many Muslims celebrate Eid by spending time with their loved ones, making unique dishes for this special day and connecting in prayer to commemorate and acknowledge the end of the fasting month. It’s a way of showing gratitude and remembering Ramadan and the charitable sacrifices many Muslims made during the fasting month.
This, as many Muslims believe, is in accordance with The Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
What is Ramadan and why do Muslims fast?
Ramadan is one of the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, an act of worship that teaches patience, perseverance and charity. It’s a means of Muslims making time for worship and becoming closer to God.
Many Muslims fast to break away from bad habits, while also following the teachings of Islam, which is seen as a compulsory act of worship.
However, many are exempt if they are unable to fast, such as the elderly, pregnant women, those who are physically or mentally incapable, those who have not reached puberty yet and women who may be menstruating. Ramadan takes place for 29-30 days, during which time Muslims won’t eat or drink between dawn and sunset.
How do Muslims celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr?
Eid celebrations begin with special prayers at the mosque. Many Muslims dress in new garments, as it is believed that Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) would wear his best cloak to commemorate this day.
Communities members, family and friends also gather to share sweet treats, gifts and stories. It’s a festival that celebrates the goodness of life and the blessings that came with the Holy month of fasting.
Women welcome Eid by applying henna on their hands to mark the celebration, this has been a tradition for many centuries. Children are also commonly gifted with money or toys from elders.
What does Eid mean and when is the second Eid celebrated?
Eid-Ul-Adha is also known as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’ and is typically celebrated two months after Eid-Al-Fitr. Eid-Ul-Adha marks the completion of Hajj, The Muslim Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca and is a reminder to many Muslims of the willingness and sacrifice Prophet Abraham made.
Eid-Ul-Adha is considered as the ‘bigger’ Eid celebration, where many Muslims complete their ‘Hajj’ and sacrifice a sheep or goat. The meat is then shared equally between family, friends and those that are in need. Charity is a big part of the Muslim faith and one of the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, so Eid is another reminder for Muslims around the world, to give even in moments of celebration.
Eid is also a celebration of life, devotion and understanding of the Muslim faith.
How can I take part in Eid if I am not Muslim?
Everyone is welcome to celebrate! If you have Muslim friends or co-workers, be sure to just wish them an “Eid Mubarak” or “Happy Eid”. You can get involved by dressing up or just acknowledging the celebration that many are partaking in around the globe.