What is Eid-ul-Fitr?
In today’s busy life, everyone finds it hard to enjoy himself/herself. Islam has blessed its followers with various chances to enjoy themselves and forget all their worries such as Eid-ul-Fitr. Eid-ul-Fitr comes yearly on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawaal marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Arabic, Eid is translated as ‘festivity’ and Fitr means eating after Ramadan. It is considered a gift to all Muslims after they fast in the name of Allah during Ramadan. Eid is also a day when families get together for celebrations.
History of Eid-ul-Fitr:
The history of Eid-ul-fiter goes back to the Islamic years of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Mohamad (PBUH).
Anas ben Malik said: “Our Messenger (PBUH) came to Madina where the people had two days on which they play and have fun. The messenger asked, ‘What are these two days?’ He was answered, ‘We used to play and have fun on these days during the Jahiliya (Days of Ignorance). The Messenger replied, ‘Allah has given you something better than them, the day of (Eid) Adhaa and the day of (Eid) Fitr.”
On this special occasion, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) instructed us to exchange gifts among our friends, relatives and other family members. According to Islam, the exchange of gifts increases love among all Muslims, and gives them the opportunity to come closer to each other. This tradition spreads greatly the true feelings of brotherhood. There is a strong need to take out some time from the busy workloads and enjoy the Eid days.
Before Eid-ul-Fitr celebration is commenced, Muslims are obligated to give Zakat to the poor so they can celebrate with their families and not to feel needy on this special day.
The joyous day of Eid-ul-Fitr starts with Eid prayer. Eid prayer is generally offered on the morning in an open field or a large hall. Eid prayers are said in congregation, and as the prayer finishes, Muslims greet each other and congratulate each other, then a day of joy and festivity starts.
Forms of Celebrations-eid al fitr celebration:
The first thing families do after prayer on Eid ul Fitr is to enjoy “sweiyaan” or “Kahk” with tea and coffee on the breakfast. Then all children and families dress up and put on their Eid clothes to visit the rest of the family and friends. Then, they go to the playgrounds, parks and gardens as well as fast food restaurants. The elders remain busy greeting their fellows, relatives and friends via phone or messages. Usually the youngsters plan their Eid outings program with their friends, and sometimes with their family members. Even cousins meet and greet each other on that day.
Exchange of gifts also takes place on this special day. “Eidi” is a very famous gift given from the elders to children. It is usually in the form of money that children use to buy sweets.
Some Eid Traditions around the World:
Eid celebrations traditionally continue for three days in most Islamic countries. Also, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday.
Many South Asian countries, like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh the celebration of Eid is commenced few hours earlier as they celebrate “Chaand Raat”. Chaand Raat day is celebrated a night before Eid-ul-Fitr, on this night girls mostly go out to markets and shops and apply Mehndi on their hands and shop for bangles, usually to put on with their Eid dresses.
Myanmar is a worth mention country when speaking about Eid in Asia. Eid-ul Fitr in Myanmar “Burma” is one day only, and it is called Eid Ka Lay where Ka Lay means small. Usually on Eid–ul-Fitr, the Muslim Sunni in Myanmar eat a meal of sweet vermicelli with fried cashews, raisins, shredded coconut and milk. In 2013, will the Buddhists Monks allow the Sunni Muslims to celebrate even this one day Eid ul Fitr?
The Middle East:
Other Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria call it “Eid-ul-Fitr Eve”. It is a day when women go out to shop for themselves, for their kids and other family members.
Mostly the shops of shoes, clothes, sweets are seen crowded and full with people of all ages who shop for new items to enjoy the festival with its full grace. This is a night of great rejoicing as great rush is seen in all markets.
This year 2013, with all the revolutions and protests in Syria, will Muslims still be able to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the way they used to along the history? Moving to Egypt, with 30 June 2013 coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi, will the anti-President do double celebrations? What about pro-president Morsi will they even celebrate? Will they attack the anti-president protestors?
Eid ul Fitr is widely celebrated in Europe, especially in Turkey and Britain. Speaking about Turkey, they have unique and very people bonding traditions. First of all, they call it “Bayram” instead of Eid. Second, they believe it is highly important to honor the elders on Bayram so they kiss their right hand and place it on the forehead while greeting them for the Bayram. Young children go from door to the other greeting every one and collecting small amount of money, chocolate and Turkish delights at every door. Since, we know about the protests going all over Turkey along the unrest in 2013, will people head to Takseem square for protesting in Eid ul Fitr or for celebrations?
In Britain, Eid has a western taste as it is not a public holiday. Many employees and students are exempted on this day to celebrate and enjoy this special Muslim day. Muslims in Britain cook for their friends and relatives then go to visit them all across the country. They even buy new clothes for all family members to fully celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.
Thank Allah in Eid-ul-Fitr:
Eid carries with itself lots of chances to enjoy and get rid of the usual daily routine. Moreover, Eid is the day of giving thanks to Allah for all his blessings, the day Muslims recognize the opportunities and blessings they have in their lives. We being Muslims should be thankful to Allah, Who has showered His blessings to us and gifted us this day after the Holy month of Ramadan.