After spending the month of Ramadan praying and fasting, Muslims around the world will celebrate with their biggest holiday party, Eid al-Fitr, which translates as the “break-the-fast feast.”
Today thousands of Muslims– will begin to eat sweets, show off new clothes and pray together. For Muslim kids, it’s likened to Christmas, a day marked by gifts, decorations and special outfits. Grown ups also get to celebrate, but are able to find deeper meaning in the holiday, thanking God for his blessings and support through the month and praying that the spiritual lessons they learned will continue throughout the year.
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitroften abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity,” while Fiṭr means “charity”. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the twenty nine or thirty days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The first day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month Shawwal.
Eid-ul-Fitr has a particular salah (Islamic prayer) consisting of two raka’ah (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall called an Eed-gah. It may only be performed in congregation (Jama’at) and has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying Allah-u-Akbar [God is Great]), three of them in the beginning of the first raka’ah and three of them just before ruku’ in the second raka’ah in the Hanafi school. This Eid ul-Fitr salah is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard (obligatory), Mustahabb (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandoob (preferable).
Muslims are commanded by God in the Qur’an to complete their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat al-fitr before doing the Eid prayer.