Eid ul-Fitr or Id-Ul-Fitr
often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break the fast" (and can also mean "nature", from the word "fitrah") and so symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period.
Eid ul-Fitr starts the day after Ramadan ends, and is verified by the sighting of the new moon. Muslims give money to the poor and wear their best clothes. Eid ul-Fitr lasts three days and is called "The Lesser Eid" compared with the Eid ul-Adha that lasts four days and is called "The Greater Eid" .
On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family awakes very early, does the first everyday prayer, and is required to eat a little, symbolizing the end of Ramadan. They then attend special congregational prayers held in mosques, large open areas, stadiums and arenas.
The prayer is generally short and is followed by a sermon (khuṭba). Worshippers greet and embrace each other with hugs in a spirit of peace and love after the congregational prayer. After the special prayers, festivities and merriment are commonly observed with visits to the homes of relatives and friends to thank God for all blessings.
Eid ul-Fitr is a joyous occasion with important religious significance, celebrating the achievement of enhanced piety. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory, peace of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims celebrate not only the end of fasting but also thank God for the self control and strength that Muslims believe God gave them. It is a time of giving and sharing, and many Muslims dress in holiday attire.
Because the day depends on the sighting of the moon, the sighting can only be possible just after sunset. Many Muslims check with local mosques or other members of the community to see if the moon has been sighted by authoritative parties such as knowledgeable scholars. Although many Muslims believe the Quran says that the sighting of the moon determines the start of Eid, this is written in other books. See below for further research on this dispute.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting of Ramadan. Ramadan is the sacred month par excellence. This has to do with the communal aspects of the fast, which expresses many of the basic values of the Muslim community. Fasting is believed by some scholars to extol fundamental distinctions, lauding the power of the spiritual realm, while acknowledging the subordination of the physical realm.
The Islamic tradition also associates events with the occasion. For example, on Eid al-Fitr, the angel Gabriel descended with white clothes for each of prophet Muhammad's grandsons.
or the Festival of Sacrifice is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims and Druze worldwide as a commemoration of God's forgiveness of Ibrahim (Abraham) from his vow to sacrifice his son, as commanded by Allah. (Muslim tradition names Ishmael as the son who was to be sacrificed, whereas the Judeo-Christian tradition names Isaac.) It is one of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran. (Muslims in Iran celebrate a third, non-denominational Eid.) Like Eid el-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon.
Eid ul-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for two to three days or more depending on the country. Eid ul-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.
Traditions and practices
Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer (Salatu'l-`id) in any mosque. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats) as a symbol of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) sacrifice.
The sacrificed animals, called "udhiya" also known as "qurbani", have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. Generally, these must be at least a year old. At the time of sacrifice, Allah's name is recited along with the offering statement and a supplication as Muhammad said.
According to the Quran a large portion of the meat has to be given towards the poor and hungry people so they can all join in the feast which is held on Eid-ul-Adha. The remainder is cooked for the family celebration meal in which relatives and friends are invited to share.
The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food during these days. Eid ul-Adha is a concrete affirmation of what the Muslim community ethic means in practice. People in these days are expected to visit their relations, starting with their parents, then their families and friends. (Arabic audio with English meaning).