What Is Eid Al Fitr, And How Do Muslims Celebrate It?
Eid is an Arabic word that means “feast”, “festival”, or “holiday”. Muslims celebrate this festival with their friends and family, and they also help the poor so that they can also enjoy all the festivities.
There are two holidays that are celebrated by Muslims from all around the world. Eid al Fitr is one of these holy festivals that Muslims all over the world celebrate in a year. Another festival that Muslims celebrate is Eid al Adha.
Though, both the festivals have completely different meanings behind celebrating them. Eid al Fitr is also known as “Lesser Eid” as the festival goes on for one to three days, whereas Eid al Adha is also known as “Greater Eid” as it lasts for one to four days.
What is Eid al Fitr?
Eid al Fitr is the Islamic holiday that Muslims celebrate at the starting of the first day of the 10th month of Islamic calendar that is called as “Shawwal”, after the sighting of moon. This festival is celebrated as a reward of the patience and sacrifice Muslims express in the month of Ramadan by fasting from dawn to sunset.
Muslims were asked in the Holy Quran to fast in the month of Ramadan in order to make them aware of the sufferings of the poor, and also to make their emaan stronger than before. By fasting, a person can develop virtues like patience, honesty, sacrifice and harmony for others.
Eid al-Fitr is also referred to as “The Festival of Breaking of Fast”, it is celebrated to commemorate the month of Ramadan by offering prayers, exchanging gifts with each other, greeting and sharing hugs with friends and family, and charity while still hoping to be blessed with the month of Ramadan in the next year as well.
Why is Eid al Fitr celebrated?
Eid al Fitr is celebrated after fasting and doing charity for a whole month to be blessed with the goodness and mercy of Allah(SWT). Ramadan is the Islamic month in which the rewards of the prayers and other good deeds are doubled and gates of the hell are closed so that Satan would not misguide us any longer.
It requires a lot of self-control and discipline to refrain yourself from eating and drinking in the daytime in spite of having all varieties of foods to eat for the love of Allah(SWT) and then breaking the fast in the name of Allah at the sunset by eating the food that Allah has blessed us with.
How Eid al Fitr is celebrated?
Muslims start their Eid day by giving thanks to Allah through special prayers and then a huge feast is held for friends and family in which sweet and savory dishes are served. Children play and sing poems.
A complimentary obligation that Muslims often follow before Eid is Zakat al Fitr in which Muslims donate a small part of their belongings in the name of Allah to help those who are in need of assistance. Muslims also works voluntarily in old age homes and offer free food throughout Ramadan and Eid celebrations.
This Zakat is different from the Zakat that rich people of the Muslim society pay annually from their assets (2.5 percent) which is the fifth pillar of Islam. In addition to that, small money bags and sweet treats such as cookies, toffees, cakes are given to kids that are known as “eidia” while adults exchange gifts and pleasantries. Different celebratory games are also played in these gatherings.
How to prepare for Eid al Fitr celebrations?
Muslims all across the globe starts preparing for Eid throughout the year. People design and stitch new clothes and donate some of them, while keep the rest to adorn themselves or to gift to friends and relatives. Muslims also make money exchanges for new, crispy bills of cash to offer eidia to everyone.
New furniture is bought and renovations are made in the house. Whole hose is to be cleaned before the Eid day. Preparation for serving different kinds of dishes are made. Some of the treats such as samosas, kebabs and many others are stored in the freezer beforehand to be served immediately.
Showering, dressing up and sprinkling sweet fragrances before the Eid prayer on the first day of Eid al Fitr is extremely important, after that the whole family gathers and have a mighty breakfast feast that is full of sweet dishes and desserts. I guess, it is one of the rare occasion when everyone has breakfast so early in the morning.
Then everyone head to the nearest mosque, to offer Eid prayer- also known as Salaat al Fajr or Salaat al Eid. After offering Salaat, everyone shakes hands and exchange warm embraces.
Imam of the mosque explain how to offer Salaat al Eid before starting the prayers as it is offered twice in a year, so most people do not remember it.
Muslims wishing each other ‘Eid Mubarak’ is a common and reflexive thing to say, and most of us know the meaning behind it. It refers to wishing a blessed and happy day during Eid. It is expected to be greeted that way on the day of Eid when meeting another Muslim for the first time that day , and it is said on both Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha.
Furthermore, it is often observed that non-Muslims who re familiar with Muslims’ traditions and is aware of the meaning of this greeting wish their Muslim friends and colleagues in the same way.