Eid al-Fitr is a time of feasting and gifts. It marks the end of Ramadan and a month of religious fasting that will have been a testing but spiritually rewarding experience for many Muslims around the world.
This year celebrations for Eid al-Fitr will be different because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the community and spiritual traditions of Ramadan will continue to be observed by millions of Muslims around the world. Eid al-Fitr is the culmination of a holy month and there will be plenty of gift giving and festivities.
In this post we’ll take a look at Eid el Fitr. What is it? Why and when is it celebrated? What do you do during the celebrations? Does it differ by country? We answer all these questions and more below.
What does Eid al-Fitr mean?
So, what is Eid-al-Fitr about?
Eid al-Fitr means the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”. It is the first of two Eids of the Islamic (lunar) calendar year, the other being Eid al-Adha (which takes place in the summer months).
Eid al-Fitr rounds off the month of Ramadan, which Muslims observe every year to acknowledge Allah’s revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.(culturetrip)
On Eid-al-Fitr, the appropriate greeting is “Eid Mubarak”. So if you’re not a Muslim but you want to greet and celebrate with your Muslim friends or family you can say “Eid Mubarak”.
When is Eid al-Fitr celebrated?
In 2021 Eid al-Fitr will begin on the evening of Wednesday May 12th and end on the evening of Thursday May 13th.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle so the exact dates of Ramadan change by the same number of days every year. So, the same is true for Eid al-Fitr.
The end of Ramadan is a particularly significant time for Muslims. In the lead up to Eid al-Fitr, during the final ten days of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the Laylat Al Qadr, which is the holiest night of the year. It commemorates the night that the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
In the days preceding Eid al-Fitr, Zakat donations, a form of obligatory charity, are made. ‘Zakat’ means ‘to cleanse’ and by making donations Muslims believe they and their wealth are purified and blessed.
This year on the evening of Wednesday May 12th and on the evening of Thursday May 13th there will be celebrations around the world. Even though many people are still protecting themselves from the coronavirus online facilities like Zoom will help people celebrate together even if they are on the other side of the world.
Why is Eid al-Fitr celebrated?
After a month of religious reflection, Eid al-Fitr is considered to be a time to celebrate with your friends and family. Even for more Muslims who have not strictly observed Ramadan every day of the month, Eid al-Fitr can be a great chance to reconnect with the spiritual purpose behind their faith.
People say ‘Eid Mubarak’ on Eid al-Fitr because it refers to having a blessed day. It is a day of celebration and also a day for Muslims to be grateful for their faith, family and friends. The day also offers a chance for Muslims to think and pray for those in more difficult circumstances.
Celebrating Eid al-Fitr safely
On April 6th this year, Muslim community leaders in the United States provided guidance about how to have a safe Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr during COVID-19.
The Joint Statement from the National Muslim Task Force on COVID-19 (NMTF) and the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition (NBMCC) recognised the difficulties of the past year and urged Muslims to take precautions while celebrating Eid al-Fitr this year.
The statement contains guidance on the proper measures to take while in the Mosque and also gives more general guidance about how Muslims can practice safely.
Eid al-Fitr around the world
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated in almost every country around the world. It is interesting to see the differences in Eid al-Fitr holidays from one country to the next.
Do they celebrate the same in Nigeria as they do in Turkey?
In Turkey it is usually beautiful and sunny during the Eid al-Fitr holiday. In past years you will have seen “many Turks flock to the beach during the Eid al–Fitr holiday to take advantage of the hot weather...Fishing, swimming, and other fun–filled activities ensue at these sandy coasts as family and friends take advantage of the long public holiday to rest and relax.”(th)
There are both similarities and differences to the way Eid is celebrated in Nigeria. “Eid is known as ‘small sallah’ by Nigerian Muslims, and on the first day, Muslims go to mosque for prayer dressed in their new clothes, followed by festivities in the form of sharing meals with family.
Children receive gifts from family members and neighbours, and dishes eaten include meat and starches such as rice and amala. Schools close for the duration of Eid celebrations, and along with sharing meals with family and gift-giving to children, the elders of communities organise parties as part of the festivities”(Africa.com)
Check out this video that shows Eid al-fitr celebrations all around the world. Muslims from Sydney, Australia, Bamako, Mali and Dhaka, Bangladesh can be seen marking the end of Ramadan with glorious festivities and religious celebrations.
In Eid al-Fitr celebrations around the world you can really see the magnificent diversity in the Muslim population and the different ways they enjoy the company of family and friends. Whether they are partying over Zoom this year or cooking a big feast all day for their family all Muslims hope that Eid al-Fitr will be a blessed day.
Give a gift to your loved ones
Eid al Fitr is the end of Ramadan, so a perfect time for gift giving. If you don’t want to send a physical gift or you're stuck for ideas you might want to send money. This will let your loved ones have some freedom to buy what they want.
You can send money easily and securely with Small World. Our money transfer service will help you get your money where it needs to be so you can ensure your loved ones can celebrate Eid al-Fitr. We hope you enjoy your Eid al-Fitr celebration!
We have a gift for our existing and new customers during Ramadan.
During the Ramadan period, all new customers receive their first two transfers fee free.
Ramadan Kareem, from us to you!