Eid al-Fitr (ʻĪd al-Fiṭr)
Feast of Breaking the Fast
Eid al-Fitr meal, Tajikistan
|Official name||Arabic: عيد الفطر
|Also called||The Sugar Feast, the Sweet Festival, the Lesser Eid|
|Observed by||Islam and Muslims|
|Significance||Marks the end of Ramadan fasting|
|Celebrations||Family and friends visits, traditional sweet dishes, using perfume, wearing new clothes, giving gifts, musical performances, etc.|
|Observances||Zakat al-Fitr charity, Eid prayers|
|2013 date||7 August|
|2014 date||28 July|
|2015 date||17 July (± 1 day)|
|2016 date||8 July (± 1 day)|
|Related to||Ramadan, Eid al-Adha|
|Part of a series on|
Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, IPA: [ʕiːd al fitˤr], "festival of breaking of the fast"), also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, Bayram (Bajram), the Sweet Festival and the Lesser Eid, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is a single day during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This is a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. However, in most countries, it is generally celebrated on the same day as Saudi Arabia.
Eid al-Fitr has a particular Salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two Rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (Jama’at) and, has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying "Allāhu Akbar", literally "God is greatest"), three of them in the beginning of the first raka'ah and three of them just before Ruku' in the second raka'ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. Other Sunni schools usually have twelve Takbirs, seven in the first, and five at the beginning of the second raka'ah. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard (obligatory), Mustahabb (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandoob (preferable).
- 1 Names
- 2 Timing
- 3 History
- 4 General rituals
- 5 Islamic tradition
- 6 Practices by country
- 6.1 Middle East
- 6.2 Africa
- 6.3 Central and South Asia
- 6.4 Southeast Asia
- 6.5 Other
- 7 In the Gregorian calendar
- 8 Performing Eid-ul-fitr Prayer
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Eid al-Fitr goes by various names around the world, including:
- Acehnese - Uroë Raya Puasa ("Feast of Fasting")
- Albanian language - Fitër Bajrami
- Arabic - عيد الفطر Eid Al-Fitr
- Albanian - Fitër Bajrami, Bajrami i madh ("Greater Feast")
- Azerbaijan - Ramazan Bayramı, Orucluq Bayramı
- Bambara - Seli, Selinicinin ("Lesser Seli")
- Bengali - রোজার ঈদ, ঈদুল ফিতর / Rozar Eid, Eid Ul-Fitr
- Bosnian - Ramazanski bajram ("Ramadan Feast"), Mali Bajram ("Lesser Feast")
- Bulgarian - Рамазан Байрам / Ramazan Bayram
- Chinese - 开斋节 / Kāi zhāi jié
- Croatian - Ramazanski bajram ("Ramadan Feast")
- Dutch - Suikerfeest ("Sugar Feast")
- Filipino - Wakas ng Ramadan, Hari Raya Buka Puasa, Pagtatapos ng Pag-aayuno
- French (esp. Senegal & Mali) - Korité (from Wolof)
- German - Ramadanfest, Zuckerfest (Ramadan Feast, Sugar Feast)
- Greek - Μπαϊράμι (Bairami, from Turkish Bayram)
- Hausa - Sallah, Karamas'Sallah ("small Sallah")
- Hebrew - עיד אל-פיטר
- Hindi - ईद उल-फ़ित्र
- Indonesian - Hari Raya Idul Fitri, Hari Lebaran
- Javanese - Riyadin Pitrah (polite), Riyaya Pitrah; Lebaran; Idul Fitri, Ngaidul Fitri, Ngidil Fitri
- Kazakh - Ораза айт / Oraza ait
- Kurdish - جێژنی ڕەمەزان / Cejna Remezanê
- Kyrgyz - Orozo Mayram
- Macedonian - Рамазан Бајрам
- Maghrebi Arabic - عيد الصغير / 'Id as-Saghir ("Lesser Eid")
- Malay - Hari Raya Aidilfitri ("Day of celebrating Eid al-Fitr"), Hari Raya Puasa ("Day of Celebrating End of Fasting"), Hari Lebaran
- Malayalam - ചെറിയ പെരുന്നാൾ / Ceṟiya perunāḷ
- Maldivian - ފިތުރު އީދު
- Minangkabau - Hari Rayo
- Montenegrin - Ramazanski Bajram
- Pashto - کمکی اختر / Kamkay Akhtar ("Lesser Feast"); کوچنی اختر / Kočnay Akhtar; وړوکی اختر / Warrukay Akhtar
- Persian - عید فطر / Eid-e Fitr
- Portuguese - Celebração do fim do jejum
- Russian - Ураза-Байрам (Uraza Bayram)
- Serbian - Рамазански бајрам
- Sindhi - Ramzan wari Eid
- Somali - Ciid Yare
- Spanish - Fiesta de la ruptura del ayuno
- Sundanese - Boboran Siyam
- Swahili - Sikukuu ya Idi, Sikukuu ya Mfunguo Mosi
- Tamil - நோன்பு பெருநாள் / Nōṉpu perunāḷ
- Thai language - วันอีด / Eid-Al fitr
- Tatar - Ураза байрам / Uraza bayram
- Turkish - Ramazan Bayramı ("Ramadan Feast"), Şeker Bayramı
- Turkmen - Oraza baýramy
- Urdu - چھوٹی عید / Choṭī ʿĪd—Lesser Eid ; میٹھی عید / Mīṭhī ʿĪd—Sweet Eid; عیدُ الفطر / ʿĪdu l-Fit̤r—Eid of breaking the fast
- Uzbek - Хайит Муборак / Hayitingiz Muborak (Happy Eid)
- Uyghur - روزا ھېيت / Rozi Heyt
- Zarma - Jingar Keyna ("Lesser Feast")
Traditionally, it is the day (beginning at sunset) of the first sighting of the crescent moon shortly after sunset. 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 it is the following day.
Before the advent of Islam in Arabia, there is mention of festivals as well as some others among the Arabs. The Israelites had festivals as well, but as is evident from the Old Testament and other scriptures, these festivals related more to commemorating certain days of their history.
Eid al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is observed on the first of the month of Shawwal at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims undergo a period of fasting.
- When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they used to entertain themselves with recreation and merriment. He asked them about the nature of these festivities at which they replied that these days were occasions of fun and recreation. 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
For Muslims, both the festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are occasions for showing gratitude to God and remembering Him, and are an occasion of entertainment. ‘Aishah narrates that when on an Eid day her father Abu Bakr stopped young girls from singing, Muhammad said: Abu Bakr! [Let them sing]; every nation has an ‘id and [this day] is our Eid.
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one, two or three days. Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Eid Mubārak ("Blessed Eid") or ‘Eid Sa‘īd ("Happy Eid"). In addition, many countries have their own greetings in the local language – in Turkey, for example, a typical saying might be Bayramınız kutlu olsun or "May your Bayram – Eid – be blessed." Muslims are also encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences with others or animosities that may have occurred during the year.
Typically, practicing Muslims wake up early in the morning—always before sunrise— offer Salatul Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer), and in keeping with the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad clean their teeth with a toothbrush, take a shower before prayers, put on new clothes (or the best available), and apply perfume.
As an obligatory act of charity, money is paid to the poor and the needy (Arabic: Sadaqat-ul-fitr) before performing the ‘Eid prayer. The following list contains some general rituals:
- To show happiness
- To give as much charity as is possible
- To pray Fajr in the local Masjid
- To go early for Eid salaat
- To read the takbirat in an open field.
- Go to the Eid prayer on foot
- Do not speak one word other than words that remember Allah or anything Islamic terms before and after Eid Salaat. You can speak once you've left the Masjid, or Mosque or any other place you were praying
- Say Eid Mubarak to other Muslims
- Muslims recite the following incantation in a low 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.
- Muslims are recommended to use separate routes to and from the prayer grounds.
- Women are encouraged to join Salat of Eid
- No fasting on Eid al-Fitr
- There is no Adhan and/or Iqamah for Eid prayer
Eid prayer and eidgah
The Eid prayer is performed in congregation in open areas like fields, community centers, etc. or at mosques. No call to prayer is given for this Eid prayer, and it consists of only two units of prayer with an additional six incantations. The Eid prayer is followed by the sermon and then a supplication asking for God'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 not required and is optional, a Sunnah i.e. while the sermon is being delivered. After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives, friends and acquaintances or hold large communal celebrations in homes, community centers or rented halls.
Eid gifts, known as Eidi, are frequently given at eid to children and immediate relatives.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. This has to do with the communal aspects of the fast, which expresses many of the basic values of the Muslim community; e.g., empathy for the poor, charity, worship, steadfastness, patience etc. Fasting is also believed by some scholars to extol fundamental distinctions, lauding the power of the spiritual realm, while acknowledging the subordination of the physical realm. It also teaches a Muslim to stay away from worldly desires and to focus entirely on the Lord and thank Him for his blessings. It is a rejuvenation of the religion and it creates a stronger bond between the Muslim and his Lord.
Practices by country
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated with great pomp in Saudi Arabia. Saudis decorate their homes and prepare sumptuous meals for family and friends.
Eid festivities in Saudi Arabia may vary culturally depending on the region, but one common thread in all celebrations is of generosity and hospitality. First, it is 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. Family members will also typically have a time where they will pass out gift bags to the children. These bags are often beautifully decorated and contain candies and toys.
Many shopkeepers will show their generosity at Eid providing free Eid gifts with each purchase. For example, during Eid, many of the chocolate shops will give each customer who buys a selection of candies a free crystal candy dish with their purchase.
In the spirit of Eid, many Saudis go out of their way to show their kindness and generosity. It is common for even complete strangers to greet one another at random, even by occupants of vehicles waiting at stop lights. Sometimes even toys and gifts will be given to children by complete strangers.
It is also traditional in some areas for Saudi men to go and buy large quantities of rice and other staples and then leave them anonymously at the doors of those who are less fortunate. Also, in some areas in the middle of Saudi Arabia, such as Al Qassim, it's a common tradition that during Eid morning and after the Eid prayer people will put large rugs on one of streets of their neighborhood and each household will prepare a large meal where these meals will be shared by all neighbours, it's also a common practice that people will swap places to try more than one kind of meal.
In the major cities in Saudi Arabia, every night there are huge fireworks shows.
It is a public holiday, where schools and government offices are generally closed for the entire three-day period of the celebrations. The celebrations of this bayram are infused with national traditions. It is customary for people to greet one another with Bayramınız kutlu olsun ("May your bayram be blessed") or Bayramınız mübarek olsun ("May your bayram be blessed"). Mutlu Bayramlar ("Happy Bayram") is an alternative phrase for celebrating this 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, neighbours, and friends), and pay their respects to the deceased with organized visits to cemeteries, where large, temporary bazaars of flowers, water (for watering the plants adorning a grave), and prayer books are set up for the three-day occasion. The first day of the bayram is generally regarded as the most important, with all members of the family waking up early, and the men going to their neighbourhood mosques for the special bayram prayer.
It is regarded as especially important to honour elderly citizens by kissing their right hand and placing it on one's forehead while wishing them bayram greetings. It is also customary for young children to go around their neighbourhood, 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, similar to the Halloween custom in the United States.
Municipalities all around the country organize fund-raising events for the poor, in addition to public shows such as concerts or more traditional forms of entertainment such as the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow-theatre and even performances by the Mehter – a Janissary Band founded during the days of the Ottoman Empire.
Eid al-Fitr is a three-day feast and an official holiday in Egypt with vacations for schools, universities and government offices. Some stores and restaurants are also closed during Eid.
The Eid day starts with a small snack followed by Eid prayers in congregation attended by men, women and children in which the sermon reminds Egyptians of the virtues and good deeds they should do unto others, even strangers, during Eid and throughout the year.
Afterwards, neighbours, friends and relatives start greeting one another. The most common greeting is "Eid Mubarak" (Blessed Eid). Family visits are considered a must on the first day of the Eid, so they have the other two days to enjoy by going to parks, cinemas, theatres or the beaches. Some like to go on tours or a Nile cruise, but Sharm El Sheikh is also considered a favorite spot for spending holidays in Egypt.
Children are normally given new clothes to wear throughout the Eid. Also, women (particularly mothers, wives, sisters and daughters) are commonly given special gifts by their loved ones. It is customary for children to also receive a Eid-ey-yah from their adult relatives. This is a small sum of money that the children receive and is used to spend on all their activities throughout the Eid. Children will wear their new clothes and go out to amusement parks, gardens or public courtyards based on how much their Eidyah affords. The amusement parks can range from the huge ones on the outskirts of Cairo-Nile, Felucca Nile rides is one common feature of Eid celebration in Egyptian villages, towns and cities.
The families gatherings involve cooking and eating all kinds of Egyptian food like Fata, but the item most associated with Eid al-Fitr are Kahk (singular = Kahka), which are cookies filled with nuts and covered with powdered sugar. Egyptians either bake it at home or buy it in the bakery. Thus, a bakery crowded in the last few days of Ramadan with Kahk buyers is a common scene. TV in Egypt celebrates Eid too, with a continuous marathon of movies as well as programs featuring live interviews from all over Egypt of both public figures and everyday citizens, sharing their Eid celebrations.
For a lot of families from working neighborhoods, the Eid celebration also means small mobile neighborhood rides, much like a neighborhood carnival. In a lot of neighborhood courtyards, kids also gather around a storyteller, a puppeteer or a magician mesmerized by Egyptian folktales or by a grownup’s sleight of hand. It is also customary for kids to rent decorated bikes to ride around town.
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 are several accounts of a heightened number of sexual assaults and rapes taking place during the festival in 2006 in Egypt, some noting as well the precautions being taken to prevent a recurrence of such problems. Subsequent reports indicate that this phenomenon continues to cause concern, one Egyptian journalist writes, 'The Eid al-Fitr holiday following this year's Ramadan brought its usual share of sexual harassment'. Operation Anti Sexual Harassment, an Egyptian organization 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'. Again in 2013, the same allegations surface in Cairo and Tanta. Public discussion of the problem in Egypt has been reported to be difficult. 2014 saw lower rates of attempted harassment, and activists reported women and girls were more confident that assaults would be punished since amendment of the penal code earlier in the year.
Edward Lane also alludes to a problem with 'intrigues' with females of a different kind around Eid al Fitr, in the early 19th century.
Since 2012, Tunisia sees three days of celebration, with only 2 days as a national holiday (1st Eid and second Eid), with preparations starting several days earlier. Special biscuits are made to give to friends and relatives on the day, including Baklawa and several kinds of "ka'ak". Men will go to the mosque early in the morning, while the women will either go with them or stay in and prepare for the celebration by putting together new outfits and toys for their children, as well as a big family lunch generally held at one of the parents' homes. During the daylight hours, there may be dancing and music, but the feasting lasts all day long, and many gifts are a large part of tradition. Also, food is the centre of this holiday, so this is one of the highlights of the evening.
Different members of a family visit each other. Usually, children accompany their father and visit aunts, uncles, grand parents and friends to congratulate them on the Eid. They will be offered drinks and special cookies. Women will stay at home with some of the children in order to welcome members of the family that come to visit and congratulate for the end of the fasting.
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 or halva) are served.
In Cape Town, hundreds of Muslims will gather at Green Point in the evening of the last day of Ramadan each year for the sighting of the moon. The gathering brings together people from all walks of life, and everyone comes with something to share with others at the time of breaking the fast. The Maghrib (sunset) prayer is then performed in congregation and the formal moon-sighting results are announced thereafter.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by first attending the mosque in the morning for Eid prayer. This is followed by visiting relatives and neighbours. Children receive presents and money from elder members of the family, relatives and neighbours. Most people wear new clothes with bright colours, while biscuits, cakes, samosas, pies and tarts are presented to visitors as treats. Lunch is usually served in family groups. It is also customary to exchange gifts.
In Sudan, where 97% of the population is Muslim, preparations for Eid begin the last couple of days in 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 partake in visiting 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.
Nigeria is officially a secular country populated by large numbers of Muslims and Christians. Eid is popularly known as "Small Sallah" in Nigeria and people generally greet each other with the traditional greeting: "Barka Da Sallah," which means "Greetings on Sallah" in the Hausa language. Muslims observe their Eid prayers at designated praying grounds before heading home to partake in festive meals, generally prepared by the women of the household. The Federal holiday typically lasts for two days in Nigeria.
Central and South Asia
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 Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid). This Eid among the Pashto-speaking community is called Kochnai Akhtar.
Afghans start preparing for the Eid al-Fitr festival up to ten days prior by cleaning up their homes. The practice is called Khana Takani in Dari. Afghans visit their local bazaars to buy new clothes, sweets and snacks. Special treats served to guests during the festivities during Eid are: 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 God, 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.
In Pakistan on the day of Eid al-Fitr, people wear new clothes to get ready for Eid prayer. People are supposed to give obligatory charity on behalf of each of their family member to the needy or poor before Eid day or at least before Eid prayer. This will allow everybody to share the joy of Eid and won’t feel depressed. There is three days national holiday for Eid celebration, while festivities and greetings tradition usually continues for the whole month. There is also a tradition that has developed in the recent past of people sending Eid greeting cards to distant family members, relatives and friends.
For Eid prayer, people gather at large open areas like sports grounds, parks or large open area. After Eid Salat people meet and greet each other with traditional hug of friendship. Before going home people give charity to needy and the poor, to further make it possible to have everybody be able to enjoy the day. On their way home, people buy sweets, gas balloons for kids, and gifts for the family. At home family members enjoy special Eid breakfast with various types of sweets and desserts, including traditional dessert sheer khurma, which is made of vermicelli, milk, butter, dry fruits and dates, etc.
Eid is mainly enjoyed by the kids, as they mostly receive money in cash called "Eidi" as gift by every elder in the family and relatives when they visit their places. On Eid day kids are allowed to spend their gift money (Eidi) as they want. Media also covers Eid festivities all day and airs various special programs on TV for all age groups.
Games and outdoor amusements such as fair ground rides are enjoyed all day. People visit their elders relatives first then others and friends all day and share the joy of the day. Some go to parks, seas side, rivers or lake fronts to enjoy and relax. Family get together in the evening to enjoy Eid dinner, and plan how to celebrate second and third day of Eid.
Celebrations in India and rest of the Indian subcontinent share many similarities with regional variations, because majority of the Indian subcontinent was ruled as one nation during the days of the Mughal Empire and British Raj. The night before Eid is called Chaand ki Raat, which means, "Night of the Moon." Muslims in these countries will often visit bazaars and shopping malls with their families for Eid shopping. Women, especially younger girls, often apply the traditional Mehndi, or henna, on their hands and feet and wear colourful bangles.
The traditional Eid greeting is Eid Mubarak, and it is frequently followed by a formal embrace. Gifts are frequently given — new clothes are part of the tradition — and it is also common for children to be given small sums of money (Eidi) by their elders. It is common for children to offer salam to parents and adult relatives.
After the Eid prayers, it is common for some families to visit graveyards and pray for the salvation of departed family members. It is also common to visit neighbours, family members, specially senior relatives called Murubbis and to get together to share sweets, snacks and special meals including some special dishes that are prepared specifically on Eid. Special celebratory dishes in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh include Lachcha/লাচ্চা or sivayyan/শিমাই, a dish of fine, toasted sweet vermicelli noodles with milk and dried fruit.
On Eid day before prayers, people distribute a charity locally known as fitra. Many people also avail themselves of this opportunity to distribute zakat, an Islamic obligatory alms tax of 2.5% of one's annual savings, to the needy. Zakat is often distributed in the form of food and new clothes.
In India, there were many popular places for Muslims to congregate to celebrate Eid at this time include the Jama Masjid in New Delhi, Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Aishbagh Idgah in Lucknow; in Kolkata there is a prayer held on Red Road. Muslims turn out in the thousands, as there is a lot of excitement surrounding the celebration of this festival. It is common for non-Muslims to visit their Muslim friends and neighbours on Eid to convey their good wishes. Eid is celebrated grandly in the city of Hyderabad which has rich Islamic Heritage. Hyderabadi haleem a type of meat stew is a popular dish during the month of Ramadan, it takes centre stage and becomes the main course at Iftar(the breaking of the fast).
Eid al-Fitr is observed over a three-day public holiday in Bangladesh. Educational institutions usually remain closed for a week during this time. Bangladeshi observe the holiday by performing the obligatory Eid prayers on the morning of Eid, giving Zakat ul Fitr, and visiting friends and relatives. Popular customs also include ladies decorating one's hands with henna, dressing up in new clothes and having a good meal with family and friends.
Idul Fitri or Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the biggest holiday in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Because sharing almost identical Southeast Asian Islamic culture, the customs and rituals of Eid al-Fitr are quite similar in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Southern Thailand.
Eid is known in Indonesia as Hari Raya Idul Fitri (or more popular as Lebaran) and is a national holiday. Shopping malls and bazaars are usually filled with people to get things for Lebaran such as; new clothes, shoes, sandals even food to serve days ahead of Idul Fitri, which creates a distinctive festive atmosphere throughout the country, along with traffic mayhem. Many banks, government and private offices are closed for the duration of the Lebaran festivities.
One of the largest temporary human migrations globally is the prevailing custom of the Lebaran where workers, particularly return to their home town or city to celebrate with their families and to ask forgiveness from parents, in-laws, and other elders. In 2013 there are around 30 million Indonesians travels to their hometowns during lebaran holiday. This is known in Indonesia as mudik (go to udik, literally means: source area) or pulang kampung (homecoming). It is an annual tradition that people in big cities such as Greater Jakarta, Surabaya, or elsewhere in Indonesia. The government of Indonesia provides additional transportation to handle the huge amount of travellers. However, the impact is still tremendous as millions of cars and motorcycles jam the roads and highways, causing kilometres of traffic jams each year.
The night before Idul Fitri is called takbiran, it is filled with the sounds of many muezzin chanting the takbir in the mosques or musallahs, people usually fill the street and also chanting takbir. In many parts of Indonesia, especially in the rural areas, obor (torches) and damar/pelita (oil lamps) are lit up and placed outside and around homes. Also, during takbiran, people usually light various firecrackers or fireworks.
On the Lebaran day, after performing Eid prayer in the morning, people dressed in their new or best clothes will gather to greet their family and neighbors. It is common to greet people with "Selamat Idul Fitri" which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "mohon maaf lahir dan batin", which literally means "Please forgive (me) outwardly and internally", because Idul Fitri is not only for celebrations but also a time for atonement to ask for forgiveness for sins which they may have committed but was cleansed as a result of the fasting in the Muslim month of Ramadan. During this Eid morning to afternoon, the zakat alms for poors usually distributed in the mosques.
Families usually will have special Lebaran meal; special dishes will be served such as ketupat, opor ayam, rendang, sambal goreng ati, sayur lodeh and lemang (a type of glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo). Various types of kue, cookies and dodol sweet delicacies are also served during this day. Younger families usually visit their older neighbours or relatives to wish and greet them a Happy Eid also to ask for forgiveness. Idul Fitri is a very joyous day for children as adults give them money in colourful envelopes.
It is customary for Muslim-Indonesians to wear a traditional cultural clothing on Eid al-Fitr. The Indonesian male outfit is known as baju koko: a collarless long or short-sleeve shirt with traditional embroidered designs with a "kilt" sarung of songket, ikat or similar woven, plaid-cloth, and a headwear known as songkok. Alternatively, men may wear either Western-style business suits or more traditional loose-fitting trousers with colour-matched shirts, and either a peci hat. Traditional female dress is known as kebaya kurung. It consists of, normally, a loose-fitting kebaya blouse (which may be enhanced with brocade and embroidery), a long skirt both of which may be batik, or the sarung skirt made of batik, ikat or songket and either the jilbab (hijab) or its variant the stiffened kerudung.
Later, it is common for many Muslims in both Indonesia to visit the graves of loved ones. During this visit, they will clean the grave, recite Ya-Seen, a chapter (sura) from the Quran and also perform the tahlil ceremony. In Indonesia there is a special ritual called halal bi-halal. This could be done during or several days after Idul Fitri. Usually core family and neighbour first during first day of Idul Fitri, further relatives in the next day, and work colleagues in days to weeks later after they get back to work. They will also seek reconciliation (if needed), and preserve or restore harmonious relations. The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives or serving visitors.
Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei
In Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, Eid is more commonly known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Jawi: هاري راي عيدالفطري), Hari Raya Idul Fitri, Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Fitrah or Hari Lebaran. Hari Raya means 'Celebration Day'.
It is customary for workers in the city to return to their home town to celebrate with their families and to ask forgiveness from parents, in-laws, and other elders. This is known in Malaysia as balik kampung (homecoming).
The night before Idul Fitri is filled with the sounds of many muezzin chanting the takbir in the mosques or musallahs. In many parts Malaysia, especially in the rural areas, pelita or panjut or lampu colok (as known by Malay-Singaporeans) (oil lamps, similar to tiki torches) are lit up and placed outside and around homes. Special dishes like ketupat, rendang, lemang (a type of glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo) and other Malay also Nyonya delicacies such as various kuih-muih are served during this day. It is common to greet people with "Salam Aidilfitri" or "Selamat Hari Raya" which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "maaf zahir dan batin", which means "Forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)".
It is customary for Muslim-Malaysians to wear a traditional cultural clothing on Eid al-Fitr. The Malay variant (worn in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Southern Thailand) is known as the Baju Melayu, shirt worn with a sarong known as kain samping or songket and a headwear known as songkok. Malaysian women clothing is referred to as Baju Kurung and baju kebaya. It is a common practice however for the Malays in Singapore and Johor, Malaysia to refer to the baju kurung in reference to the type of outfit, worn by both men and women.
In Malaysia, especially in the major cities, people take turns to set aside a time for open house when they stay at home to receive and entertain neighbours, family and other visitors. It is common to see non-Muslims made welcome during Eid at these open houses. They also celebrate by lighting traditional bamboo cannon firecrackers known as meriam buluh, using kerosene in large hollow bamboo tubes or Chinese imported crackers. The traditional bamboo cannon, meriam bambu, and fireworks are notoriously loud and can be very dangerous to operator, bystander and even nearby buildings. These are usually bamboo tubes 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) in diameter and 4–7 m (13–23 ft) long, filled with either: water and several hundred grams of calcium carbide, or heated kerosene, then ignited by match.
Celebrating with firecrackers in the early morning during Ramadan is now banned in many areas.
In the Philippines, Eid al-Fitr, known to the Christian majority and other non-Muslims as "Wakás ng Ramadán" ("End of Ramadan") or incorrectly as "Ramadan", has been recognised by the Philippine Government as a regular holiday by virtue of Republic Act No. 9177 and it is also according to Presidential Proclamation No. 1083, signed into law on 13 November 2002 – the only majority Christian country worldwide to have done so.
The law was enacted in deference to the Filipino Muslim community and to promote peace and harmony among major religions in the country. The first national commemoration of Eid al-Fitr was on 6 December 2002, marked by prayers and feasting. Some Filipino Muslims attend grand congregations at the Manila Golden Mosque and the Quirino Grandstand every Eid, while Muslim-majority communities in Mindanao such as Marawi City stage large public celebrations.
Eid al-Fitar lasts for only one day among Burmese Muslims, who call the day Eid Nei’ (Nei’=day) or Eid Ka Lay (Ka Lay=small) or Shai Mai Eid (Shai Mai=a meal of sweet vermicelli served with fried cashews, coconut shreds, raisins, and milk that is traditionally eaten by Burmese Muslims during Eid). Burmese Muslims predominantly follow the Hanafi school of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam.
During Ramadan, in the small towns and big villages with significant Muslim populations, Burmese Muslim youth organize singing teams called Jago (in Urdu and Hindi), which means "wake up." Jago teams usually do not use musical instruments apart from the occasional use of harmonica mouth organs. These youth will walk throughout the neighborhoods before sunrise to wake up the fellow Muslims for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal), which precludes the day of fasting.
The roving groups of singers will take the tunes of popular Hindi movie songs, replaced with Burmese lyrics and invocations about fasting, the do's and don’ts of Islam and about the benefits of Salaat. These songs could also be called Qawwali, which are popular in India and Pakistan. Sometimes these Jago groups will also visit Muslim homes on the Eid day, where they are welcomed with food and monetary donations for the team with Eidi or Duit Raya.
Although Eid al-Fitr is not a public holidays in Burma, most employers have an understanding of the festival and are usually willing to accommodate days off for Muslim staff. Some may even take time off during office hours to visit with Muslim staff at their homes, usually accompanied by other non-Muslim coworkers. As there is no single Islamic authority in Burma to make official decisions on moon-sighting, it is sometimes difficult to reach consensus on the start and end of Ramadan. This often results in Eid being celebrated on different days in small towns and villages.
The Eid al-Adha "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is a public holiday in Burma as this event falls annually on the 10th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah (ذو الحجة) in the lunar Islamic calendar. Unlike Muslim countries that observe a three-day festival, Eid al-Adha is only observed on one day in Burma. During both Eids, the traditional greeting is merely the common Islamic greeting of Assalamualaikum, and Eid Mubarak is only seldom heard. The greeting is followed by placing the right hand on the forehead (as if giving a salute); there is no shaking of hands and rarely only includes a formal embrace.
Gifts and food are frequently given to the elder relatives and even to non-Muslim employers and government authorities. New clothes are traditionally given to family members and coworkers, but Burmese Muslims elders will give Eidi gifts to children. Children will receive at least token amounts of money, even from strangers, especially if they went around the neighborhoods in groups just to collect Eidi. It is common for children and young people to go around giving greetings of "salaam" to parents, elder relatives and other elders in the community. During Eid, Burmese Muslims ask forgiveness from parents and elders and themselves try to forgive and forget any misunderstandings that may have occurred amongst one other.
Sometimes Burmese Muslims pray or perform Eid salah (called Eid Namaz) at an Eidgah at in open spaces outdoors. Burmese Muslim women typically do not attend the mosque or join with the men at an Eidgah.
As Burmese Muslims are discouraged by the religious authorities from decorating their homes with lights, lamps or colorful bulbs, sending Eid cards, and more recently, sending e-cards through the internet, is fairly common. Children and adults are also urged not to celebrate the religious festival with fireworks firecrackers.
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 Han Chinese population during which holiday supplies of mutton, lamb and beef are distributed to households as part of welfare program funded by government agencies, public and private institutions, and businesses.
In Yunnan province, 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 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 honor the hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed during the Qing Dynasty, and the hundreds killed during the Cultural Revolution.
In Australia, a predominantly non-Muslim, secular country, Muslims are able to practise their religion with great freedom. Most large companies allow for special religious holidays allowing Muslims to take a day off for Eid al-Fitr. Areas where there are large (but not necessarily majority) Muslim populations have overflowing attendances at the mosque for the Eid al-Fitr prayer and police frequently block off roads and divert traffic to cater for the prayer and subsequent festivities. Eid prayers are also held in open areas (playground, stadium) in some places.
In 1987, The Australian MEFF Consortium commenced the Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair to celebrate Eid in Sydney, held shortly after Eid al-Fitr. The festival has grown to now cater for tens of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims and has included as guests Yusuf Islam, famous Australian footballer, Hazem El Masri, the then Governor-General of Australia, Michael Jeffery and the previous Premier of New South Wales, Kristina Keneally. This festival has now been replicated in cities all around Australia. The biggest Eid fair in Melbourne is held in Broadmeadows usually on the weekend following the Eid day. In Canberra, the capital of Australia, Eid Festival sponsored by Australian Federal Police (AFP) is held on the following Sunday after the Eid day. The festival includes stalls from different nations, cultural program, and rides for kids and adults.
United States of America
Most Muslims in the United States offer the Eid prayer in big-city Islamic centers, convention halls or open parks. Muslims from different cultures with multi-national customs get together for prayers and celebrations. In some cities, prayers are done at multiple times to accommodate the large number of attendees. Generally, Muslims visit each other's homes on Eid or hold large feasts in mosques or community halls. Sometimes, Mosques rent parks for Muslims to pray in.
During the 3 days of Eid, many Muslims join big parties sponsored either by a community mosque or Islamic center or by a wealthy Muslim in the community. Children receive gifts, and all participants enjoy sweet, spicy and other flavorful delicacies. Many Muslims also donate money to those less fortunate. Sometimes, Muslims reserve amusement parks, skating rinks or other activity centers for an entire day of fun.
In New York City alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations are suspended. In Houston, Texas, the annual prayers are offered at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Downtown Houston, organized 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, and a Forever® stamp in 2011.
For Eid al-Fitr, just as in the United States, most Canadian Muslims will take a day off from work and go to prayers held in big-city mosques or Islamic centres, convention halls or sports arenas. Muslims from different cultures with multi-national customs get together for prayers and celebrations. In the larger cities of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, congregational prayers may be done at multiple times to accommodate the large number of attendees. Many Muslims will visit each other's homes on the Eid day or the days following to attend designated "open houses" in which everyone is welcome to visit. Children receive gifts or money, and sweets and tasty dishes are served throughout the day. Smaller Muslim communities, particularly in the rural areas, hold other communal gatherings in mosques or rented community halls. Muslims also donate money or contribute to their local food banks on this day for those who are less fortunate.
In many Canadian communities, Muslim organizations and mosques also hold large Eid parties that are open to the entire Muslim community. Some groups may reserve amusement parks or other activity centers for an entire day of fun and celebration, while others may hold public Eid parties in mosques as a means of outreach to the larger non-Muslim society.
Students from Canadian schools usually take 2–3 days off, due to the fact that Eid is a major holiday in the Islamic culture.
Although Eid al-Fitr is not a recognised public holiday in the United Kingdom, many Muslims do attend the morning prayer. In large ethnically Muslim areas, schools and local businesses often grant exemptions to the Muslim community in consideration of this holiday, allowing them to take days off.
During the morning, observant men usually wear a thawb, jubba and sherwani, and women usually wear a salwar kameez. They will proceed to a local mosque for the Eid prayers, after which people greet each other. Some men may go to a local cemetery after Eid prayers to remember the deceased and pray for them. When they return home they will congratulate family, friends, and other Muslims and visit relatives across the city. They may also cook traditional food and sweets for their relatives. Bengali dishes and Pakistani dishes such as samosas, Siweya, Rice and Handesh, Noonor Bora, and Fulab are particularly popular within those communities.
Muslims comprise around 7% (63,000 people) of the total population of Fiji, a small tropical island-nation northeast of Australia. The Muslim community mostly consists of people of Indian origin, descendants of indentured laborers who were brought to the islands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the British colonialists. Although no accurate statistical evidence exists, there are also thought to be a few hundred indigenous Fijian Muslims (Melanesians) in the island nation. The vast majority of Muslims in Fiji are of the Sunni branch of Islam who follow the Hanafi school of jurisprudence.
The day of Eid al-Fitr is celebrated in Fiji with Muslim men wearing their best clothes and attending the mosque for the early morning congregational prayer. (Women do not go to the mosques for prayers in most parts of Fiji). This is followed by visiting relatives and neighbors. Children receive presents and money from elder members of the family, relatives and neighbors. Most Muslims will wear new clothes on this day, and serve samai, a dish of fine, sweet vermicelli noodles mixed in warm milk. This is usually accompanied by samosas, curried chicken and beef as well as sweets and Indian snacks for guests visiting throughout the day.
The traditional Eid greeting is Eid Mubarak, and it is frequently followed by a formal embrace.
Mauritius is a diverse island nation where several religions live together in relative harmony. Muslims make up about 16.6% of the total population and Eid is one of the island's national holidays. Eid itself is celebrated across the island, with the preparation of a feast, which typically includes the "biryani". Men accomplish their Eid prayer at the local mosques or at the Eid Gah. Cultural shows are usually performed in the days that follow Eid.
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 week of the same Gregorian calendar year. The Gregorian date may vary between countries depending on the local sightability 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.
Performing Eid-ul-fitr Prayer
Eid al-Fitr prayer (Salat al-Eid) or Eid al-Fitr Namaz is performed on the occasion of Eid. The Prayer of Eid al-Fitr is performed in two different ways by Sunni and Shia Islam.
There are two Rak'ah (Rakaat) performed in the Eid al-Fitr prayer. The prayer of Eid al-Fitr starts by doing "Niyyat" for the prayer and then Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) is said by the Imam and all the followers. The next is to recite "Takbeer-e-Tehreema" in first Rakaat. Then the congregation says Allahu Akbar seven times, every time raising hands to the ears and dropping them except the last time when 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 Rak’ah. Then the congregation rises up from the first Rak'ah and folds hands for the second Rak’ah. In the next step the Imam says five takbirat, followed by the congregation, every time raising the hands to the ears and dropping them except the last time when the hands are folded. Again the Imam reads the Surah-e-Fatiha and another Surah followed by the Ruku and Sujud. This completes the Eid prayer. After the prayer there is a Khutbah.
Shia also performs two Rak’ah in the Eid al-Fitr prayer. Prayer starts with the Niyyat followed by the five "Takbeers". During every "Takbeer" of the first Rak’ah, 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 Rak’ah again the same above steps (five Takbeers, Sūrat al-Fātiḥah and Surat Al-'A`lá, Ruku and Sujud) are repeated. After the prayer, Khutbah starts.
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