Eid al-Fitr (/ / eed əl FIT-ər; Arabic: عيد الفطر ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, IPA: [ʕiːd al fitˤr]), also called the "Festival of Breaking the Fast", is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. This religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities, so the day of celebration varies by locality.
|Official name||Arabic: عيد الفطر, romanized: ‘Īd al-Fiṭr|
|Significance||Marks the end of Ramadan fasting|
|Celebrations||Eid prayers, charity, social gatherings, festive meals, gift-giving|
|Observances||Eid prayers, charity-giving|
|2019 date||4 June (Saudi Arabia and some other countries) 5 June (Pakistan and some other countries)|
|2020 date||24 May (expected – may differ 1 day dependent on sighting of lunar crescent)|
|Related to||Ramadan, Eid al-Adha|
Eid al-Fitr has a particular salat (Islamic prayer) that consists of two rakats (units) generally performed in an open field or large hall. It may only be performed in congregation (jamāʿat) and features six additional Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying "Allāhu ʾAkbar", meaning "God is the greatest") in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam: three at the start of the first rakat and three just before rukūʿ in the second rakat. Other Sunni schools usually have twelve Takbirs, similarly split in groups of seven and five. In Shia Islam, the salat has six Takbirs in the first rakat at the end of qira'a, before rukūʿ, and five in the second. Depending on the juristic opinion of the locality, this salat is either farḍ فرض (obligatory), mustaḥabb مستحب (strongly recommended) or mandūb مندوب (preferable).
Eid al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to certain traditions, these festivals were initiated in Medina after the migration of Muhammad from Mecca. Anas, a well-known companion of the Prophet, narrated that, when the Prophet arrived in Medina, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they entertained themselves with recreation and merriment. At this, the Prophet remarked that the Almighty has fixed two days of festivity instead of these for you which are better than these: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Traditionally, Eid al-Fitr begins at sunset on the night of the first sighting of the crescent moon. If the moon is not observed immediately after the 29th day of the previous lunar month (either because clouds block its view or because the western sky is still too bright when the moon sets), then the holiday is celebrated the following day. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one to three days, depending on the country. It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid, and a specific prayer is nominated for this day. As an obligatory act of charity, money is paid to the poor and the needy (Arabic: Zakat-ul-fitr) before performing the ‘Eid prayer.
Eid prayer and eidgah
The Eid prayer is performed in congregation in open areas like fields, community centers, or mosques. No call to prayer is given for this Eid prayer, and it consists of only two units of prayer with a variable amount of Takbirs and other prayer elements depending on the branch of Islam observed.The Eid prayer is followed by the sermon and then a supplication asking for Allah's forgiveness, mercy, peace and blessings for all living beings across the world. The sermon also instructs Muslims as to the performance of rituals of Eid, such as the zakat. Listening to the sermon at Eid is optional. After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives, friends, and acquaintances or hold large communal celebrations in homes, community centers, or rented halls.
As ritual dictates, Sunnis praise Allah in a loud voice while going to the Eid prayer: Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar. Lā ilāha illà l-Lāh wal-Lāhu akbar, Allahu akbar walil-Lāhi l-ḥamd. Recitation ceases when they get to the place of Eid or once the Imam commences activities.
The prayer starts by doing "Niyyat" for the prayer and then Takbir is said by the Imam and his followers. Next, "Takbeer-e-Tehreema" is recited, followed by Allahu Akbar three times, raising hands to the ears and dropping them each time, except for the last when the hands are folded. Then the Imam reads the Surah-e-Fatiha and other Surah. Then the congregation performs Ruku and Sujud as in other prayers. This completes the first rakat. The congregation rises up and folds their hands for the second rakat., during wich the Imam recites Surah Fatiha and another Surah. After this, three Takbirs are called out just before the Ruku, each time raising hands to the ears and dropping them. For the fourth time, the congregation says Allah o Akbar and subsequently goes into the Ruku. The rest of the prayer is completed in the regular manner. This completes the Eid prayer. After the prayer there is a khutbah.
Prayer starts with the Niyyat followed by five Takbirs. During every Takbir of the first rakat, a special Dua is recited. Then, the Imam recites Sūrat al-Fātiḥah and Surat Al-'A`lá and the congregation performs Ruku and Sujud as in other prayers. In the second Rakat, the same above steps (five Takbeers, Sūrat al-Fātiḥah and Surat Al-'A`lá, Ruku and Sujud) are repeated. After the prayer, Khutbah starts.
Practices by country
Saudis decorate their homes and prepare sumptuous meals for family and friends. They prepare new clothes and shoes for the festival. Eid festivities in Saudi Arabia may vary culturally depending on the region, but one common thread in all celebrations is generosity and hospitality. It is a common Saudi tradition for families to gather at the patriarchal home after the Eid prayers. Before the special Eid meal is served, young children will line up in front of each adult family member, who dispense money as gifts to the children. In the major cities of Saudi Arabia, every night there are huge fireworks shows.
In Iran, at the last days of the month of Ramadan, several groups of experts representing the office of Ayatollah Khamenei go to the different zones of the country to determine the date of Eid al-Fitr. Iranian Muslims take part in the Eid al-Fitr prayer and pay the Zakat al-Fitr. The Eid al-Fitr prayer, and the following sermon, has been led by Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Grand Prayer Grounds (Mossalla). The celebration is typically marked by a one- or two-day national holiday.
In Turkey, nationwide celebrated holidays are referred to as bayram, and Eid al-Fitr is referred to as both Şeker Bayramı ("Bayram of Sweets") and Ramazan Bayramı ("Ramadan Bayram"). It is a time for people to attend prayer services, put on their best clothes (referred to as bayramlık, often purchased just for the occasion), visit all their loved ones (such as relatives, neighbors, and friends), and pay their respects to the deceased with organised visits to cemeteries. It is also customary for young children to go around their neighborhood, door to door, and wish everyone a "Happy Bayram", for which they are awarded candy, chocolates, traditional sweets such as baklava and Turkish Delight, or a small amount of money at every door.
Egyptians spend the first day of Eid al-Fitr to gather all family members and celebrate the Eid at public gardens. It is customary for children to also receive an Eidi, a small sum of money to be spent on activities throughout the Eid. Egyptians like to celebrate with others, so the streets are always crowded during the days and nights of Eid.
Heightened incidence of sexual assault during Eid al-Fitr
There were several accounts of a heightened number of sexual assaults and rapes during the 2006 Egyptian Eid. Subsequent reports indicated that the phenomenon continued to grow in following years. One Egyptian journalist wrote "The Eid al-Fitr holiday following this year's Ramadan brought its usual share of sexual harassment". Operation Anti Sexual Harassment, an Egyptian organisation founded to protect against sexual assaults, described Eid al-Fitr as a "season for harassment", and the prevalence of such attacks "a trend that has become associated with Eid al-Fitr celebrations in recent years". Despite this rise, sexual assault and "intrigue" with women during Eid al-Fitr dates back to the early 19th century, as Edward Lane alludes to. In 2013, allegations, the discussion of which was considered taboo, surfaced in Cairo and Tanta. 2014 saw lower rates of attempted harassment, and activists reported more confidence since amendment of the penal code. 141 police reports for harassment were filed in Cairo in 2015, though this number may underestimate the issue as many reports were reportedly withdrawn. Despite a reduction to 120 complaints and 35 arrests for harassment in 2016, many women still find it necessary to take significant precautions during Eid. 2018 showed continued evidence of reduction.
Since 2012, Tunisia celebrates Eid for three days (with preparations starting several days earlier), two of which are national holidays. Special biscuits, including Baklawa and several kinds of "ka'ak", are made to give to friends and relatives on the day.
In Somalia and other Islamic parts of the Horn region, Eid al-Fitr is observed by the Muslim communities. Celebrations marking the event are typically accompanied by elaborate banquets, where special dishes such as xalwo (halwo) and buskut (buskuit) are served.
In Cape Town, hundreds of Muslims—each with something to share with others at the time of the breaking of the fast—gather at Green Point in the evening of the last day of Ramadan for the sighting of the moon. The Maghrib (sunset) prayer is then performed in congregation and the formal moon-sighting results are announced thereafter.
In Sudan, where 97% of the population is Muslim, preparations for Eid begin the last few days of Ramadan. For days, ka'ak (sugar powdered cookies), bettifour (dry baked goods including dainty biscuits, baked meringues and macaroons—whose name are derived from the French petit four), and popcorn are baked in large batches to serve to guests and to give to family and friends; dressy Eid clothes are either shopped for or sewn; girls and women decorate their hands and feet with henna; and parts of the house may even be painted. The night before Eid, the whole household partakes in cleaning the house and yard and setting out the finest bedsheets, table cloths, and decorations. On the day of Eid, men and boys (and occasionally women and girls) will attend the Eid prayer. For the next 3 days, families will then visit each other, extended family, neighbors, and close friends. In these short visits, the baked goods, chocolates, and sweets are served, and often large lunches are prepared for the visiting well-wishers. Children are given gifts, either in the form of toys or money.
In the predominantly Sunni Muslim culture of Afghanistan, Eid al-Fitr holds significant importance and is celebrated widely for three days. The most common greeting is Kochnai Akhtar (Blessed Eid) in the Pashto-speaking community. Afghans start preparing for the Eid al-Fitr festival up to ten days prior by cleaning their homes (called Khana Takani in Dari). Afghans visit their local bazaars to buy new clothes, sweets, and snacks including Jelabi (Jalebi), Shor-Nakhod (made with chickpeas), and Cake wa Kolcha (a simple cake, similar to pound cake). On the day of Eid al-Fitr, Afghans will first offer their Eid prayers and then gather in their homes with their families, greeting one another by saying "Eid Mubarak" and usually adding "Eidet Mobarak Roza wa Namazet Qabool Dakhel Hajiha wa Ghaziha," which means "Happy Eid to you; may your fasting and prayers be accepted by Allah, and may you be counted among those who will go to the Hajj-pilgrimage." Family elders will give money and gifts to children. It is also common practice to visit families and friends, which may be difficult to do at other times of the year. Children walk from home to home saying "Khala Eidet Mubarak" ("aunt happy Eid"), and they receive cookies or Pala. At night, multiple campfires are set around houses, sometimes to the point that entire valleys may initially appear to be engulfed in flame. Celebratory fire with automatic rifles, particularly tracer rounds, can also be expected in high density.
In Pakistan, Eid al-Fitr is also referred to as both Meethi Eid میٹھی عید ("Sweet Eid") and Choti Eid چھوٹی عید ("Small Eid"). People are supposed to give obligatory charity on behalf of each of their family members to the needy or poor before Eid day or, minimally, Eid prayer, allowing for all to share in the joy of Eid. At home, family members enjoy special Eid breakfast with various types of sweets and desserts, including the traditional dessert sheer khurma, which is made of vermicelli, milk, butter, dry fruits, and dates. Eid is mainly enjoyed by the kids, as they mostly receive money in cash called "Eidi" as gift from their relatives.
Eid is known in Indonesia as Hari Raya Idul Fitri, or more popularly as Lebaran, and is a national holiday. People return to their home town or city (an exodus known as mudik) to celebrate with their families and to ask forgiveness from parents, in-laws, and other elders. Festivities start the night before with chanting the Takbir and lighting lamps and fireworks. On the day itself, after Eid prayer in the morning, zakat alms for the poor are distributed in the mosques. People gather with family and neighbors in traditional clothing and have a special Lebaran meal. Children are given money in colourful envelopes. Later, it is common for Muslims in Indonesia to visit the graves of relatives to ritually clean the grave. Muslims also visit the living in a special ritual called Halal bi-Halal sometime during or several days after Idul Fitri.
Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand
During Ramadan, in small towns and big villages with significant Muslim populations, Burmese Muslim youth organize singing teams called Jago (meaning "wake up). Jago teams usually do not use musical instruments apart from the occasional use of harmonica mouth organs.The roving groups of singers will take the tunes of popular Hindi movie songs, replaced with Burmese lyrics and invocations about fasting, the principles of Islam, and the benefits of Salat.
In the People's Republic of China, out of 56 officially recognized ethnic groups, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by at least 10 ethnic groups that are predominantly Muslim. These groups are said to total 18 million according to official statistics, but some observers say the actual number may be much higher. It is also a public holiday in China in certain regions, including two Province Prefecture Level regions, Ningxia and Xinjiang. All residents in these areas, regardless of religion, are entitled to either a one-day or three-day official holiday. Outside the Muslim-majority regions, only Muslims are entitled to a one-day holiday. In Xinjiang province, Eid al-Fitr is even celebrated by the Han Chinese population. During the holiday, supplies of mutton, lamb and beef are distributed to households as part of a welfare program funded by government agencies, public and private institutions, and businesses. In Yunnan, Muslim populations are spread throughout the region. On Eid al-Fitr, however, some devotees may travel to Sayyid 'Ajjal's grave after their communal prayers. There, they will conduct readings from the Quran and clean the tomb, reminiscent of the historic annual Chinese Qingming festival, in which people go to their ancestors' graves, sweep and clean the area, and make food offerings. Finally the accomplishments of the Sayyid 'Ajall will be related in story form, concluded by a special prayer service to honour the hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed during the Panthay Rebellion, and the hundreds killed during the Cultural Revolution.
Eid al-Fitr (i.e. Seker Bayram, Sugar Feast) is celebrated in Greece mainly in the Western Thrace region from the local Muslim minority (Turks, Pomaks and Roma), along with the other two major celebrations, Kurban Bayram (Sacrifice Feast) and Hıdırellez. On the day of the Bayram, family gathers together, wear their best clothes, and celebrate with a common meal, after attending the morning prayer. The women prepare and offer sweets to family and visitors, while small children go around and pay their respects to the elderly by kissing their hands. The elder in turn reward them with candies, sweets, and small amounts of money. Local Muslim shopkeepers close their shops this day, while Muslim minority schools have a 5-day holiday for the feast. Some entertainment venues and clubs hold special events for the night of the Bayram.
In New York City, alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations are suspended on Eid. Beginning in 2016, New York City Public Schools also remain closed on Eid. In Houston, Texas, the annual prayers are offered at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, organised by the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH).
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has issued several Eid postage stamps, across several years—starting in 2001—honoring "two of the most important festivals in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha." Eid stamps were released in 2001 – 2002, 2006 – 2009, 2011.
Although Eid al-Fitr is not a recognized public holiday in the United Kingdom, many schools, businesses, and organizations allow for at least a day's leave to be taken for religious celebrations. As in Egypt, there have been a small number of reports of sexual assaults associated with the Eid in the UK.
In the Gregorian calendar
Although the date of Eid al-Fitr is always the same in the Islamic calendar, the date in the Gregorian calendar falls approximately 11 days earlier each successive year, since the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Gregorian calendar is solar. Hence if the Eid falls in the first ten days of a Gregorian calendar year, there will be a second Eid in the last ten days of the same Gregorian calendar year, as happened in 2000 CE. The Gregorian date may vary between countries depending on the local visibility of the new moon. Some expatriate Muslim communities follow the dates as determined for their home country, while others follow the local dates of their country of residence.
|Islamic year||Umm al-Qura predicted||High Judiciary Council of |
Saudi Arabia announced
|1438||25 June 2017||25 June 2017|
|1439||15 June 2018||15 June 2018|
|1440||4 June 2019||4 June 2019|
|1441||24 May 2020|
|1442||13 May 2021|
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Media related to Eid al-Fitr at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of Eid al-Fitr at Wiktionary