Last month saw the end of the spiritual month of Ramadan – a 30-day fast which sees Muslims partake in extra prayers in the name of Allah.
Ramadan finished on 5th July this year and many Muslims celebrated the feast of Eid al-Fitr, also known as Id al-Fitr or Eid ul-Fitr and the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar.
Literally translated from Arabic as the ‘festival of breaking the fast’, Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month long fast of Ramadan and the start of a feast that can last for up to three days.
The celebrations involve a range of spiritual traditions, generally including a gathering of family and friends to eat and pray together.
Eid al-Fitr is an important Islamic holiday for Muslim communities. This event involves many Muslims waking up early and praying either at an outdoor prayer ground or a mosque.
People dress in their finest clothes and adorn their homes with lights and other decorations.
Old wrongs are forgiven and money is given to the poor. Special foods are prepared and friends or relatives are invited to share the feast. Gifts and greeting cards are exchanged and children receive presents.
Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion but its underlying purpose is to praise God and give thanks to him, according to Islamic belief.
It is not possible to predict the date of Eid al-Fitr accurately in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, because the month of Shawwal begins, and the month of Ramadan ends, after a confirmed sighting of the new moon. The new moon may be sighted earlier or later, depending on the location. Hence, Muslims in different parts of the world may begin the Eid-al-Fitr celebrations on different dates.