Eid Al Fitr, or the ‘Festival of Breaking of the Fast’, is a prominent and grand Islamic festival that is celebrated with high gaiety and gusto. It marks the end of the month of Ramadan; the divine month of fasting. This pious festival falls on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Muslim lunar calendar Hijri. Eid Al Fitr is a joyous occasion that is marked by feasts and celebrations. It is an ideal time to express gratitude to the almighty for everything. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Other than wonderful traditions and celebrations, the festival has some interesting facts you might not know. Read this blog to know some interesting facts about Eid-Al-Fitr.
Traditionally a Two-to-Three Days Affair
Traditionally, the festival lasts for three days. The three days festivities include praying, feasting, exchanging Eidi, decorating houses and more. Depending on the geographical boundaries, the festivities can extend up to four days too.
The Dates Vary Within the Islamic Community
Since new moons occur differently all over the globe, the date of Eid-Al-Fitr is not the same. Some communities decide it with the physical sighting of the first crescent new moon. While some use calculations in determining the beginning of Islamic months. For example, in Saudi Arabia, they consider the Umm al-Qura calendar, a calculation of the Hijri calendar.
Eid-Al-Fitr Greetings Follow the Prayer Service
Once people have conveyed Eid Mubarak’s greetings, they proceed for a communal prayer service. Some people also exchange greeting cards with friends and family.
Festival Celebrates the End of Fasting
Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan to honour the time the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. The prolonged fasting not just includes food but also signifies abstaining from drinking, smoking and other pleasures.
Zakat-Al-Fitr or Fitrana
This is the thing you might not know about Eid-Al-Fitr- on this day, in particular, Muslims fulfil their duties toward the poor. If financially sound, they give out to the poor or unprivileged. They shower the needy with Eid Mubarak gifts, food, clothes, sweets and money to fill their day with happiness and joy.
Different Names in Different Countries
Eid-Al-Fitr is also known as Hari Raya Puasa in Malaysia, Ramzan Bairami in Azerbaijan, Korite in Senegal and Lebrun in Indonesia. Whatever you call it, the essence, festivities and emotions remain the same.
First Eid-Al-Fitr at White House in 1996
The first Eid al-Fitr was hosted by Hillary Clinton at the White House in 1996. The dinner was attended by prominent members of the Muslim American community, including politicians, leaders and students. Ever since the tradition is followed every year! With time, the Eid al-Fitr dinner tradition has continued with every president.
The History of Eid Goes Back to the Prophet Muhammad
It says in the Quran that the Prophet Muhammad got his first revelation of the Holy Quran during Ramadan. The verses; describing fasting in Ramadan, were shown after two years, with Prophet Muhammad establishing the practice of the holy month in their new holy home.
It Observes Unique Celebrations
From Turkey to Indonesia and from Malaysia to Africa, Eid is celebrated uniquely around the globe. For example, the people of Egypt celebrate Eid for more than 4 days. People serve special delicacies such as Fata and Kahk. In Saudi Arabia, it is a tradition to put out rugs on the street to share meals with neighbours. While some people convey their best wishes with an elegant bunch of Eid Mubarak flowers.
Breaking the Fast with Dates
Traditionally, people eat dates after a long day of fasting during Ramzan. This is good from a health perspective too since dates help maintain blood glucose levels. Dates form an integral part of many Eid sweets too. Many creative recipes use dates, such as Maamoul or date-filled flavourful cookies. Other than dates, here are some delicious foods that are a must-have in Eid’s feast.
These were some interesting facts about Eid Al Fitr. We hope this helps you celebrate the festival more joyously with those celebrating. Eid Mubarak!