Islam celebrates two types of Eid, the first is Eid-al-fitr and the second is Eid-al-adha. Eid-al-adha is celebrated at the end of Hajj the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. It is the festival of sacrifice.
Eid-al-fitr is the most significant and awaited festival in the Muslim Community. The term Eid-al-fitr means the festival of breaking fast of Ramadan. When does Ramadan end and When does Eid-al-fitr start? Eid symbolises the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is that month of the year according to the Islamic belief, when the Muslims chasten themselves through Islamic practices. They believe this time to be the ultimate period of getting closer to God. According to Prophet Muhammad, during the month of Ramadan the gates of heaven open, closing the doors of hell which confines the evil spirits. It is believed to renew the spiritual connection. During the month of Ramadan, the Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The fasting includes not only any kind of food or drink but use of bad behaviour and language as well. Each day is spent by reading an entire chapter from the Quran which has thirty chapters, naturally finishing the entire Quran. The purpose of fasting is to become more generous and compassionate towards people who go without food and drink many a day and to understand what one has to go through being unfortunate.
After a whole month of learning, trying to become more compassionate, generous, closer to God and to the religion, a celebration is much needed. That is where the Eid-al-fitr comes into the picture. This festival brings families, friends and neighbours closer as they break their fasts together. The Eid-al-fitr lasts for three days and acknowledges the success of the entire month of Ramadan.
Eid does not only include religious practices but comes with a lot of delicious food preparations as well. The food preparations of Eid are mostly deserts. However, the traditional Eid breakfast is Sheer Khurma made from vermicelli noodles boiled in milk with sugar.
Eid-al-fitr 2017 is on the 25th and 26th of June.
Eid Celebrations in Different Countries
- India – In India, people go for shopping a night before Eid, markets are prepared and embellished with all the necessary items for Eid, women and young girls put beautiful henna designs on their palms, people buy new clothes, they send and receive gifts to and from relatives, friends and neighbours. They exchange greetings by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’.
- Pakistan – In Pakistan, there is the Badshahi mosque towards which the Muslims walk to offer their Eid-al-Fitr prayer. For the children however, it is the most awaited festival because the schools stay shut for three days and they make the most of the holiday by enjoying with their friends and family wearing new clothes.
- Bangladesh – The entire Bangladesh however goes on a shopping spree a month before the Eid-al-fitr. Women buy different outfits and jewellery not only for themselves but for their friends and family as well. Some of them like to spend the festival by going to their own districts with their own people. They might stay in the main cities for earning a living, but at the time of Eid, they all visit their own cities and villages and meet people they have not seen in months or even years.
- Dubai – Eid in Dubai is celebrated with a modern touch. People go to the movie halls, shopping malls and restaurants which offer such new and delicious recipes. On the major public spaces, people arrange dance performances and parades. In the night, the sky is adorned with firework displays.
Traditional vs. Modern Eid-al-fitr
Traditionally the first day of Eid-al-fitr is celebrated by taking bath and eating sweets and dates as breakfast. People wear new clothes and go to the mosques to offer their prayers to Allah. After the prayer is over, people greet each other with embraces saying “Eid Mubarak”. After the prayers are over, people return to their houses and take the first midday meal in the month with their entire family and friends. The children of the families are given Eidi which is a token of love and blessings from their elders. The Eidi is given in the form of new clothes, sweets, money or other gifts.
Although, the rituals of Eid-al-fitr have not changed with the growing modernity, but the change in people’s choice of attire and the experimentation with food can be easily identified. Some people like to adhere to the traditional outfits whereas some like a little experimentation. Restaurants also offer new and fusion food recipes all over the world during Eid. People these days after finishing with the rituals are likely to go to a movie hall or to a restaurant with family and loved ones.
When is Eid for Muslims this year? Eid-al-fitr 2017 is on the 25th and 26th of June.
Eid-al-fitr however is traditionally a festival for the Muslims, but because of the diversity of people from different religions in a country, the majority of Hindus or Christians have Muslim friends. As a result of which, they too await and welcome the festival with the equal amount of excitement. Some of them even fast during the Ramadan to give company to their Muslim friends and to get to know the religion more, whereas others celebrate it by visiting their Muslim friends, eating delicious recipes like Sheer Khurma, Halwa, Fhirni and Biriyani and making the most by being a part of all the celebrations.