Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Official name Arabic: عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr
Also called Feast of the Breaking of the Fast.
Hari Raya, Aidil Fitri (Malaysia,
Singapore and Brunei),
Idul Fitri, Lebaran (Indonesia),
রোজার ঈদ Rojar Id (Bangladesh),
Şeker Bayramı or Ramazan Bayramı (Turkey),
Ramazanski Bajram (Bosnia and Herzegovina),
Oraza Ait (Kazakhstan),
Suikerfeest (The Netherlands),
Aïd el-Fitr or Fête du Sucre (France),
Шекер байрям Sheker Bayram (Bulgaria)
العيد الصغيرة el-'īd eṣ-Ṣġīra (Libya)
Observed by Muslims
Significance Marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting
Date 1 Shawwal
2006 date October 21/October 25
2007 date October 13/October 13
2008 date October 1
Celebrations Eating with Family and Friends, Gift-Giving, Praying
Related to Eid ul-Adha, the other Islamic festival, which occurs approximately seventy days later
Eid ul-Fitr or Id-Ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr), often abbreviated as simply Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Fiṭr means "to break the fast" and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family is awake very early and then after praying the first normal everyday prayer, is required to eat in a small quantity, symbolizing the end of Ramadan. They then attend special congregational prayers held only for this occasion in mosques, in large open areas, stadiums or arenas. The prayer is generally short, and is followed by a sermon (khuṭba). Worshippers greet and embrace each other 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.
For Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr is a joyous occasion with important religious significance, celebrating of 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 help and strength that they believe HE gave them throughout the previous month to help them practice self-control. It is a time of giving and sharing, and many Muslims dress in holiday attire.
The first Eid was celebrated in 624 CE by The Prophet Muhammad with his companions and relatives after winning the Battle of Badr. This very occasion is celebrated annually in the lunar calendar as Eid Ul Fitr.
Because the day depends on the sighting of the moon, the sighting can only be possible just after sunset. Most Muslims check with local mosques or other members of the community to see if the moon has been sighted by authoritative parties. In Malaysia, they use both sighting of the moon and astronomical calculation to verify the date. But the calculation is only used to verify the sighting of the moon (i.e. the exact time of the visibility of the moon). For this reason there may be regional differences in the exact date of Eid, with some Muslims fasting for 29 days and some for 30 days.
Eid ul-Fitr commemorates the end of the month of Ramadan. Fasting is forbidden on this day as it marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. A Muslim is encouraged to rise early and partake of a light snack such as dates before then attending morning prayers with family members in the local community mosque.
Traditions and practices
Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Īd mubārak ("Blessed Eid") or ‘Īd sa‘īd ("Happy Eid"). In addition, many countries have their own greetings based on local language and traditions.
Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes (new if possible) and to attend a special Eid prayer that is performed in congregation at mosques or open areas like fields, squares etc. When Muslims finish their fast at the last day (29th or 30th Ramadan), they recite Takbir (Arabic audio clip with English meaning).
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر
la ilaha illa Allah لا إله إلا الله
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar الله أكبر الله أكبر
wa li-illahi al-hamd ولله الحمد
God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest
There is no deity but God
God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest
and to God goes all praise
The Takbir is recited after confirmation that the moon of Shawwal is sighted on the eve of the last day of Ramadan. It continues until the start of the Eid prayer. Before the Eid prayer begins every Muslim (man, woman or child) must pay Zakat al Fitr, an alms for the month of Ramadan. This equates to about 2 kg of a basic foodstuff (wheat, barley, dates, raisins, etc.), or its cash equivalent, and is typically collected at the mosque. This is distributed to needy local Muslims prior to the start of the Eid prayer. It can be given at any time during the month of Ramadan and is often given early, so the recipient can utilise it for Eid purchases. This is distinct from Zakat based on wealth, which must be paid to a worthy charity.
The Eid prayer (salah) is followed by the khutba (sermon) and then a prayer (dua') asking for forgiveness, mercy and help for the plight of Muslims across the world. It is then customary to embrace the persons sitting on either side of oneself as well as ones relatives, friends and acquaintances.
Muslims spend the day thanking the Creator for all their blessings, as well as simply having fun and enjoying themselves. Children are normally given gifts or money. Women (particularly relations) are normally given special gifts by their loved ones. Eid is also the time for reconciliations. Feuds or disputes, especially between family members, are often settled on Eid.
Eid ul-Fitr in United Kingdom
There is a Bayarn (speech) in which the Imam gives advice to the Muslim community and usually Muslims are encouraged to end any past animosities they may have. He then goes on to the khutbah and then the prayer itself. When the local imam declares Eid ul-Fitr everyone greets and hugs each other.
As Eid ul-Fitr is not a recognised public holiday in the United Kingdom, Muslims are obliged to attend the morning prayer, in a large ethnically Muslim area, normally schools and local businesses give exemptions to the Muslim community to take 1 day off. In the rest of the UK it is not recognised as it is not on a fixed date, however this has lead the Muslim community leaders and or organisations to come to a consolidation with the authorities.
In some areas, notably the East End of London, it has become common for (mostly young)people to drive around the streets blaring car horns as part of the Eid ul-Fitr celebrations.
Eid ul-Fitr in North America
North American Muslims typically celebrate the day in a quiet way. Because the day depends on the sighting of the moon, often families are not aware that the next day will be Eid until the night before. Most check with members of the community to see if the moon has been sighted by anyone. Different methods for determining the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal are used in each particular community. Because the day is determined by the natural phenomenon of sighting the crescent moon, North Americans on the eastern coast of the continent may celebrate Eid on a different day than those on the western coast.
The crescent moon can be sighted directly, or the sighting can be determined based on scientific calculations. Typically, the end of Ramadan is announced via e-mail, postings on websites, or chain phone calls to all members of a Muslim community. Working persons usually attempt to make arrangements for a lighter work day on the days that may possibly be the Eid day, but many North American Muslims are often noted to not be able to take the entire day off.
Typically, a Muslim family in the West will wake up very early in the morning and have a small breakfast. Everyone is encouraged to dress in new and formal clothing. Many families wear traditional clothing from their respective home countries. Next the family will go to the nearest congregational prayer group to pray. The prayer may be held at the local mosque, a hotel ballroom, local arena or stadium. The Eid prayer is very important, and Muslims are encouraged to pray in a large gathering because of the rewards. After the prayer there is a Khutba (speech) in which the Imam gives some sort of advice to the Muslim community and usually Muslims are encouraged to end any past animosities they may have. After the prayer and Khutba people hug and wish each other a Happy Eid.
After the Eid prayer many people call friends and family from all over the world wishing them a Happy Eid or Eid Mubarak. The rest of Eid is spent with close family and friends. Depending on their community some Muslims have open-house parties during the day in which people exchange gifts, and wish family friends a blessed Eid. Because North American Muslims come from all parts of the world, one particular type of food cannot be identified as served on this day. Many Muslim North American families visit the homes of others to congregate on a day of celebration. Since many North American Muslims are immigrants, traditions described below may be celebrated by immigrants of these countries in their respective homes in North America.
Eid ul-Fitr in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei
In Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Eid is also commonly known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Hari Raya Puasa. Hari Raya literally means Grand Day i.e. The Day. Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore celebrate Eid like other Muslims throughout the world. It is the biggest holiday in Malaysia, and is the most awaited one. Shopping malls and bazaars are filled with people days ahead of Hari Raya, causing a distinctive festive atmosphere throughout the country. Many banks, government and private offices are closed for this holiday, which usually lasts a week.
The night before Eid is with the takbir which is held in the mosques or musallas. In many parts of Malaysia, especially in rural areas, oil lamps or pelita/panjut are lit up in house compounds. Eid also witnesses a huge migratory pattern of Muslims, from big metropolitan cities to rural areas. This is known as balik kampung — literally going back to home town to celebrate Eid with ones parents. Special dishes like ketupat, dodol, lemang (a type of glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo), and other Malay delicacies are served during this day.
It is common to greet people with "Selamat Hari Raya" or "Salam Aidilfitri" which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "maaf zahir dan batin" which means "Forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)", due to the fact that Eid ul-Fitr is not only for celebrations, but also the time for Muslims to cleanse their sins and strengthen their ties with relatives and friends.
It is customary for Malays to wear traditional Malay costumes on the Eid. The dress for men is called baju melayu which is worn together with songket while the women's are known as baju kurung and baju kebaya. It is also common to see non-Malay Muslims wear costumes of their culture.
Once the prayer is completed, it is also common for Muslims in Malaysia to visit the graves of loved ones. During this visit, they clean the grave, recite Ya-Seen, a chapter (surah) from the Qur'an and also perform the tahlil ceremony. All these are done to ask for God to forgive the dead and also those who are living.
The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives or serving visitors. Eid ul-Fitr is a very joyous day for children for on this day adults are especially generous. Children will be given token sums of money, also known as "duit raya" from their parents or elders.
Eid ul-Fitr in Indonesia
In Indonesia the feast is named Hari Raya Idul Fitri or informally, Lebaran. Hari Raya literally means The Great Day of (Celebration) . Sometimes, there are different statements on when the day falls, especially between Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, because people use different techniques to determine it. Almost all of the people follow the government of Indonesia's statement and such differences do not get in the way of people celebrating. This event is recognized as a national holiday, starts a few days before Eid ul-Fitr, and lasts until days after it. Schools also have different schedules for the holiday as many Islamic schools usually make it a longer holiday.
Muslims in Indonesia usually ask forgiveness from their relatives and friends after the special prayer. Another interesting Eid ul-Fitr tradition in Indonesia is mudik that usually applies to urbanites who came to Jakarta from the other provinces of Java or other islands in Indonesia. Before Eid ul-Fitr comes, people will go back to their hometowns where their relatives, sometimes including their parents, reside. This event often causes crowding in airports, seaports, and bus stations while some who are traveling by car are trapped in the traffic jam for hours. For little children, asking for money as well as forgiveness from relatives is common to motivate them. Many, especially in the cities, also use the term angpau for the money just like Chinese people do.
It is common to greet people with "Selamat Hari Raya" (Indonesian) or "Salam Aidilfitri" (Malay) which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "Mohon maaf lahir dan batin" which means "Forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)", due to the fact that Eid ul-Fitr is not only for celebrations, but also the time for Muslims to cleanse their sins and strengthen their silaturrahim with relatives and friends. The term "fitr" in Eid ul Fitr, coincides with the word "fitrah" of the Indonesian language which means the purity of birth, just as babies are pure when they were born. Many Indonesian muslims acknowledge that on the day of Eid when they forgive each other, their sins with each other are cleansed and they are without sin just as they were at birth. Another term in addition to "Mohon maaf lahir dan batin" mentioned earlier, is "minal aidzin wal faidzin" (alternate spelling, minal aizin wal faizin) . The origin of this phrase is suspectedly Arabic and has loosed meaning of "may you be part of the people who return to purity and part of the people who are granted glory". The latter phrase is usually used in conjunction of the former; thusly, "Minal aidzin wal faidzin, mohon maaf lahir dan batin."
At the night of the last day of Ramadan, Indonesians usually do 'Takbiran'. Takbiran is a big celebration where people, from little children to old men, recite the takbir with a microphone in a parade. They travel around the town and usually they hit 'bedug', a large drum, as a background music of the takbir.
Eid ul-Fitr in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka)
At the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, in which the Muslims are asked to observe fasting from dawn to dusk and do extra prayers and observe religious values rigidly, the Muslims celebrate the sighting of the new moon (start of the new Muslim month). In Bangladesh,India and Pakistan, the night before Eid is called Chand Raat, or night of the moon. People visits bazaars and shopping malls, with their families and children, for last momemts Eid shopping. Women, especially young girls, often paint each others' hands with traditional "henna" and wear colourful bangles.
The popular way of greeting in Bangladesh, India & Pakistan during celebration of this festival is to say Eid Mubarak to others.Children are encouraged to meet and greet the elders. In exchange of this they also expect to obtain some cash money, called Eidi, from the elders.
On the morning of Eid ul-Fitr, after taking a fresh bath, every Muslim is encouraged to wear new clothes, if they can afford so. Alternatively, they may wear clean washed clothes.Men and boys go to mosque or open fields called Eidgah for special Eid prayers, thanking God for enabling a Muslim to observe the holy month meaningfully. The Muslims are ordained to pay Zakat al-Fitr (special charity money) or fitra to the poor and needy before the Eid prayer, so that they can also join others to celebrate the Eid.
After the prayers, the congregation is dispersed and the Muslims meet and greet each other including family members, children, elders, friends and neighbours.
Some Muslims especially go to graveyards to pray for the salvation of the departed soul. Usually, children visit elder relatives and neighbours to pay respects and greetings.
One of the special dishes in India, Pakistan and Fiji is sivayyan, a dish of fine, toasted vermicelli noodles. In Bangladesh, sivayyan is called shemai, and is an integral item of Eid dishes.
After meeting the friends and relatives, many people go for attending parties, feasts, special carnivals and festivities in the parks (with picnics, fireworks, etc.). In Bangladesh and Pakistan, many bazaars, malls, and restaurants witness huge crowd & high attendance during this principal muslim festival.
Some people also avail this opportunity to distribute Zakat, the obligatory tax on ones wealth, to the needy.
In this way, the Muslims of South Asia celebrate their Eid ul-Fitr in festive mood by thanking the Almighty and bringing their families, friends and the poor and needy people closer in a praiseworthy eagalitarian manner.
Eid ul-Fitr in Iran
In the predominantly Shia culture of Iran, Eid is a highly personal event, and celebrations are often more muted. Called Eyde Fetr by most Iranians, charity is important on that day. Typically, each Muslim family gives food to those in need. Often meat or ghorbani (literally translated as sacrifice, for it is usually a young lamb or calf that is sacrificed for the occasion), which is an expensive food item in Iran, will be given by those in wealthier families to those who have less. Payment of fitra or fetriye is obligatory for each Muslim.
Eid ul-Fitr in Turkey
In Turkey, where Ramzan is infused with more national traditions (and where country-wide celebrations, religious and secular alike, are altogether referred to as Bayram), it is customary for people to greet one another with "Bayramınız Mübarek Olsun" (same as "Eid mubarak"), "Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun" (kutlu is calque for mubarak). It is a time for people to attend services, put on their best clothes (referred to as "Bayramlik", often purchased just for the occasion) and to visit all their loved ones (such as friends, relatives and neighbors) 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. Municipalities all around the country organize public shows such as concerts or more traditional forms of entertainment such as the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow-theatre or performences by the Mehter, the Janissary Band that was founded during the days of the Ottoman Empire as well as fundraising events for the poor. It is regarded as especially important to honor elderly citizens by kissing their right hand and placing it on one's forehead while wishing them Bayram greetings. It is also customary for children to go around the neighborhood, door to door, and wish everyone a happy "Bayram", for which they are awarded candy, chocolates, traditional sweets such as Baklava and Lokum, or a small amount of money at every door, almost in a Halloween-like fashion. Helping the poor, ending past animosities and making up, organizing breakfasts and dinners for loved ones and putting together neighborhood celebrations are all part of the joyous occasion, where streets are generally decorated and lit up for the celebrations, and television and radio channels broadcast special Bayram programs.
Eid ul-Fitr in the Philippines
Ramadan, as it is colloquially known to the majority Christian population, has been declared as a regular holiday for the entire nation by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. This is meant to give more importance to the Muslim minority population of the nation, with Tuesday, October 24, 2006 being the date this came into effect. This is called in Tagalog as Wakas ng Ramadan (lit. End of Ramadan).
Eid ul-Fitr in the Gregorian Calendar
While Eid ul-Fitr is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, much like Easter, due to differences between the two calendars, since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. Furthermore, the method used to determine when each Islamic month begins varies from country to country.
These future dates are only estimates:
• 2007: 13 October
• 2008: 2 October
• 2009: 21 September
• 2010: 10 September
• 2011: 31 August
Eid ul-Fitr officially begins the night before each of the above dates, at sunset.
"Hari Raya Puasa". Retrieved Nov. 2, 2005.
^ Yusof, Mimi Syed & Hafeez, Shahrul (Oct. 30, 2005). "When Raya was a bewildering experience". New Straits Times, p. 8.
^ "(20061021) semoga kita minal 'aidin wal faizin. Amin!".Retrieved October 31, 2006
^ Food Events - Eid Celebrations. BBC Food Online. Accessed 2 November, 2005.
Eid ul-Fitr is spelled in a variety of ways in English, due to variation in Arabic pronunciation as well as influence from other languages. The spelling used in this article is commonly found in English texts, and reflects the Arabic pronunciation of Fitr فطر (Arabic: fiṭr, Persian: fetr) and the Arabic pronunciation of Eid عيد (Persian: eyd, Arabic: ‘īd).
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