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Eid al-Fitr: it’s all about generosity and gratitude

 

An Indian Muslim boy offers Eid al-Fitr prayers with others in Mumbai, India, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/ Rajanish Kakade )

Eid al-Fitr (say "EED al fitter") is a three-day religious holiday that’s celebrated by Muslims around the world. Read on to find out more about this festival.

What is it?

Father and son dressed for Eid al-Fitr.
Father and son wear their new clothes for Eid al-Fitr.  Photo by Jobut George licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Eid al-Fitr, which means the "Festival of the Breaking of the Fast", marks the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month-long holiday when Muslims fast, or go without food and drinks, during daylight. The celebration of Eid al-Fitr also signals the first day in the month of Shawwal. The date of this festival is based on the lunar calendar. This year, it begins the evening of June 25 and ends the evening of June 26. In many Muslim countries, the three-day festival is a national holiday. That means people don’t go to school or work. Instead they participate in the Eid al-Fitr celebrations.


Want to learn more? Check out - Ramadan: be good to yourself and to others


How is it observed?

Sliced fruits on plates.
Fruit, pastries and other sweets are are eaten during Eid.  Photo by Hamed Saber licensed CC BY 2.0.

During Eid al-Fitr, Muslim families and friends get together to celebrate. The day usually begins with the whole family enjoying a small breakfast. This is the first daytime meal that has been eaten in a month. Muslims then gather outside or at a mosque to pray together and listen to a sermon that’s followed by a prayer called the Salat al-Eid. In the afternoon, Muslims get together with family and friends to enjoy a big feast (with lots of sweets!) and give gifts to each other. There may also be parades, processions, and other outdoor celebrations. Traditionally, people greet each other by saying: Eid Mubarak, which means “Blessed Eid.”

Are there any other special traditions?

Man poses with donations for the poor.
Young man sits with food donations which will be distributed to needy families in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. Photo by ResoluteSupportMedia licensed CC BY 2.0

Since giving to others through charity is an important part of Ramadan, it is also a part of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Many Muslims donate different kinds of food to the poor. This form of charity is called sadagah al-fitr, and it makes sure that everyone will be able to mark the end of Ramadan by enjoying a special meal.

Do some countries have different traditions when celebrating Eid al-Fitr?

Young girl dressed in white, faces the camera.
Women pray outside a mosque in observance of Eid al-Fitr in Dili, Timor-Leste. UN Photo/Martine Perret. Photo by United Nations Photo licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

While Eid al-Fitr celebrations are similar in most places, some countries do have their own unique customs. In Indonesia, for example, many Muslims visit the graves of their family members and clean the gravesites during this holiday. And in Turkey, people show an extra sign of respect to the elderly throughout Eid al-Fitr by kissing their right hand when they meet.

Kids dressed up for Eid al-Fitr in India.
Kids dressed up for Eid. Photo by Jobit George licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0