A religious holiday celebrated by Muslims across the globe to mark the end of Islamic holy month, Ramadan, is termed as Eid al-Fitr or simply Eid. The ninth auspicious month, Ramadan, is the month of blessings, a month dedicated to fasting and prayers – prayers focusing on altruism and commitment to Allah (God). But why only on Ramadan? Because Muslims deem that it was during this month that the first verses of the Qur’an was recited by Allah.
As per Islamic decree, their religion rules on a lunar calendar (compared to solar calendar used universally) and therefore, for them, every month starts with the view of a new moon. And as lunar calendar is shorter by 11 days, the holidays keep changing every year, depending on the moon, however, majority of them follow it with the Saudi Arabia timings/days.
Coming back to Qur’an and the importance of Ramadan, it’s been believed that ages ago, somewhere around 610 A.D., Prophet Muhammad, a caravan trader, was wondering around Mecca in search of answers to his faith. One night, angel Gabriel came to him and told him that he was chosen to recite the word of Allah to the world, and that he recited in the following days, came to be transliterated as the Qur’an. And this incident happened in the holy month of Ramadan.
Even today, as a religious step, during Ramadan, every mosque recites the holy Qur’an part by part every day, in a way that the whole scripture is completed by the time the month comes to an end. This is termed as ‘tarawih’.
Also, the whole month of Ramadan is observed as “sawm”, or fast. You are strictly not allowed to eat or even drink anything during the sun hours; therefore, eating/drinking is only permit able when the sun sets. Fast (one of the 5 pillars of Islam) is observed to gain peace, clean your body, attain spiritualism, and test your self-control levels. The whole idea is also to make donations, especially to the poor.
Just before the sun rises, they have a meal called “suhoor” and after the sun sets at dusk, they have a meal called “iftar”, usually comprising of sweets to fight the day’s weakness. They also refrain from lying, cheating, theft etc. during this holy month.
The age limit for a kid to start keeping the fast or “roza” is twelve years and above. The world houses over a billion Muslims, with around 8 million just in North America, therefore, you can already estimate the number of people who keeps fast during this month.
Finally, after a stretch fast for 29-30 days, the time marks for Eid al-Fitr, meaning the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” the day the long fast comes to an end. It’s one of the two biggest celebrations of Islam, the other being the celebrations which follow after a visit to pilgrimage Mecca.
The day begins with an early morning bath, called “ghusl”, followed by prayers. The Eid prayers are different than regular prayers known as “Adhaan”. The special prayer can be done anytime between the “Ishraq” (meaning dawn) and “Zawal” (meaning midday) prayers, and also they have special places constructed for Eid prayers. Most importantly, it’s prohibited to fast on the Day of Eid. And before going for prayers, it is traditional to something sweet, preferably a date (fruit), before attending the prayers.
And then the greeting starts between friends and families, saying “Eid Mubarak”. People wear their best attires and also decorate their houses, as people are also invited over for a lavish feast. Known by other names like Bajram, Hari Raya Puasa, etc, the occasion, as believed, is commanded by Allah, as per their holy book, and they will continue to fast until the last day of Ramadan.