Eid al Fitr begins at the end of the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It marks the Breaking of the Fast at the end of Ramadan, the fasting month. With the ultimate end of fasting, Eid al Fitr is celebrated with great rejoicing among the Muslims. The first Eid al Fitr celebration dates back to AD 624 by the Prophet Muhammed with his companions after the victory at the Battle of Badr.
The marking of the particular day depends on the sighting of the moon which is possible only before the sunset takes place, though many choose to depend only on astronomical calculations. This often leads to the regional differences in denoting the exact date of Eid.
Celebrations on the big day
The dishes served at the banquets are elaborate. Friends and relatives are invited over for the feast. The celebrations depict the happiness after a long month of fasting and hardships. What follows is the fellow feeling among humankind.
When Eid al Fitr begins the people dress in fine clothes and decorate their homes. They visit friends and family and give treats to their children.
Charity and good deeds being an integral part of Islam, the people feed the poor and donate to the mosques.
The worldwide Muslim population of about 1.6 billion celebrates Eid al Fitr on the first day of the month of Shawwal which follows the month of Ramadan. The Muslim celebrations of Eid includes a prayer and a sermon right in the morning, followed by visits made to friends and families, feasting on elaborate meals and exchanging gifts and cards. Prior to the beginning of the Eid prayers, every Muslim must pay Zakat al Fitr, or alms for the month of Ramadan. You can donate any amount of alms but the most basic ones come in the form of 2 kilograms basic foodstuff mainly comprising heat, dates, raisins and barley. These alms are distributed among the local needy Muslims before the start of the prayers.
Eid implies recurring happiness. Eid al Fitr, the first Eid of the year is a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing. According to Islam, it is unholy to observe a fast on this day. It is a noted day for forgiving others and bearing no grudge against anyone. Greetings of Eid Mubarak are exchanged among the Muslims on this day.
It is popularly believed that the Koran was revealed at the time of this month. Muslims choose this day for showing their happiness for the strength and opportunities they have received from Allah to keep the long fast during the month of Ramadan.
Eid al Fitr begins with the fulfilling of obligations and resolving of disputes. It is one of the two most vital Islamic celebrations and a time of happiness and goodwill among all people.