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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 date of this festival is based on the lunar calendar. This year, it begins the evening of May 12 and ends the evening of May 13. The celebration of Eid al-Fitr also signals the first day in the month of Shawwal.

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

Let's see how some have observed and celebrated Eid al-Fitr in the past. Today, with social distancing many of these celebrations may not be possible. They could be just with immediate family or might be celebrated online.

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. They 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!). They also 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. 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

Eid al-Fitr celebrations are similar in most places. Some countries do have their own unique customs.

In Indonesia, many Muslims visit the graves of their family members. They clean the grave sites during this holiday.

In Turkey, people show an extra sign of respect to the elderly throughout Eid al-Fitr. They kiss 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