The completion of Ramadan, also known as 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 two significant days in the Islamic calendar on which Muslims are not allowed to fast.
The Arabic word ‘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 lunar calendar.
It is marked by the sighting of the new moon, which signals the end of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of the month of Shawwal. As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle and is subject to the 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 bathe, wear perfume and new or clean clothes. Following breakfast with their families, they attend special congregational Eid prayers – known as Salaatul Eid. Many recite the takbir, a declaration of faith, on their way to the mosque.
The Eid festival itself can continue over the course of three days and, as well as being a time for celebration and joy, it is also a key occasion for giving to charity and remembering those who are in less fortunate circumstances. Many Muslims will ensure that they pay their Zakat and another charitable donation known as fitrana, or Zakat-ul-Fitr, before commencing the Eid prayer. It is obligatory for those who are eligible to pay fitrana that they do so 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 offering presents to children. The traditional greeting on this blessed day is ‘Eid Mubarak’, which translates to ‘have a blessed Eid’.
Eid-ul-Fitr 2018 is estimated to fall on Thursday 15th June, subject to the sighting of the moon.