What You Need to Know About Eid al-Fitr

Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al- Fitr [eed uh l-fee-truh] on June 15 this year. The event is an important Islamic holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the holy month of daily fasting from food, water, and other worldly satisfactions. If you aren’t familiar with this holiday, read on as My Pope clues you in on what Eid is, and what it means to our Muslim brothers and sisters.

 

It means “Festival of Breaking the Fast”

(Photo by freestocks.org)

Eid al-Fitr translates to “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. That means that on the first day of Eid, muslims can enjoy their first breakfast after 29 or 30 days of fasting. On this day, families gather to eat and give gifts to each other. Some even put up decorations in their homes to mark the occasion.

 

The holiday is based on the sighting of the new moon

(Photo by Mark Tegethoff)

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for three days, with the first day differing from country to country. This is because this holiday is based on the sighting of the new moon. Some Muslim countries celebrate Eid on the sighting of the first crescent new moon, while others utilize calculations, such as Saudi Arabia whose calendar was created by the Institute of Astronomical and Geophysical Research of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

 

Traditional Eid breakfast is sweet

(Photo by Trang Doan)

Similar to Christmas, Eid al-Fitr is a time of merriment and celebration. Traditionally, families enjoy sweet food for breakfast before heading to the mosque for the morning prayer. As it is the first daytime meal after a month, breakfast is considered special.

 

After their sweet breakfast, Muslims start the day in prayer

(Photo from The National)

On the morning of Eid, Muslims wear their finest clothes and eat something sweet before heading to the mosque to start the day in prayer. Much like the Christmas morning mass, the Imam’s sermons usually revolve around thanksgiving, the historical significance of the day, forgiveness and love among neighbors, and almsgiving.

 

You can greet your Muslim friends with “Eid Mubarak

If you wish to greet your Muslim friends, say this common greeting during this holiday which means “Have a blessed Eid.” However, in some countries, greetings may not be in Arabic. In Malaysia, for instance, they greet each other with “Selamat Hari Raya,” which means “Happy Celebration Day.”

 

It is pronounced as eed uh l-fee-truh

If you are finding it hard to mention Eid al- Fitr, just play the video below. 

 

Happy Eid!

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Text by Yen Cantiga.
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