The end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, is marked by the festival of Eid ul Fitr, one of the two principal celebrations in the Islamic calendar (the other is Eid ul Adha). These are the only two days in the Islamic calendar where Muslims are not allowed to fast.
The Arabic, Eid ul Fitr, translates to “festival of breaking the fast” and is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.
It is marked by the sighting of the new moon, which signals the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal. As it is based on the lunar cycle and depends on sighting the moon, the timing of Eid ul Fitr can vary by a day or so in different countries.
To mark the beginning of Eid, most people will bathe, wear perfume and new or clean clothes, and, after breakfast, attend special congregational Eid prayers known as Salaat al Eid. Many recite the takbir, a declaration of faith, on the way to the prayer venue.
The Eid festival can extend to three days and as well as a time for celebration and joy, it is also an occasion for charity, remembering and helping others who are less fortunate. Many Muslims will ensure that they pay their Zakat and another charitable donation known as fitrana, or Zakat ul Fitr, before the Eid prayer.
Celebrations and activities on the days of Eid include special dinners and meals with friends and family, visiting relatives, asking for forgiveness from others, exchanging gifts and giving presents to children. The usual greeting during this holiday is ‘Eid Mubarak’, which translates as ‘Have a blessed Eid’.
Eid ul Fitr is likely to be Monday 26th June, dependant on the sighting of the moon.