Eid-Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the day is celebrated with sheer joy among the people. The celebrations begin upon sighting of the crescent moon. It’s a day where children run from house to house to greet everybody and collect gifts. You can even spot people doing some last minute shopping, families traveling to their relatives’ houses and adults distributing alms.
Delicacies are prepared to serve the guests, houses are decorated with lights and flowers, prayers are said to thank the almighty. The day brings joy to everybody celebrating after the month long fasts.
What Does ‘Eid-Al-Fitr’ Mean?
The word ‘Eid’ means festival or feast and ‘Eid-Al-Fitr’ literally means ‘festival of breaking the fast’.
Why is ‘Eid-Al-Fitr’ Celebrated?
Muslims believe Eid-Al-Fitr is Allah’s reward for all the believers who spent the month of Ramadan fasting and praying to the Almighty. They also thank Allah for giving them the strength and the opportunity to carry out His commands during the blessed month. Hence, it is celebrated as a festival to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan and thank the Creator for all the blessings.
Facts About ‘Eid-Al-Fitr’
- It is also known as ‘Meethi Eid’ in India: As every household makes sheer khurma or seviyan and because sweets or dates are served to guests, ‘Eid-Al-Fitr’ is also known as ‘Meethi Eid’ in the Indian sub-continent.
- It is celebrated on different Gregorian dates every year: As the festival is celebrated upon sighting of the moon, ‘Eid-Al-Fitr’ happens on different days each year. This is the reason why different countries celebrate it on different days as well.
- Zakat Al-Fitr is given to the poor before Eid prayers: Apart from the charities (Zakat) that the Muslims give during the month of Ramadan, a special ‘Zakat Al-Fitr’ also known as ‘Fitra’ is given to the poor before Eid prayers. This is so that everybody, regardless of class or economic status, can celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr in a good way.
- It is known by different names in various countries: Just like it is called ‘Meethi Eid’ in the Indian subcontinent, it is called as ‘Korite’ in Senegal, ‘Ramazan Bayrami’ in Azerbaijan, ‘Hari Raya Puasa’ in Malaysia and ‘Lebaran’ in Indonesia.
- People greet each other on ‘Eid-Al-Fitr: ‘Eid Mubarak’ means ‘Happy Eid’ and this is a greeting that is used by Muslims to greet each other on this special day.
Here’s how people in India celebrate the festival.
Henna, New Clothes & Attr
Preparations for Eid start a day before as women apply Henna on their hands. Most of the time, henna artists are fully booked so young girls can be seen applying ‘mehendi’ to each other in excitement. People wear new attires and use attr to begin the festive celebrations of Eid. You can spot men wearing the traditional kurta pajamas and women in intricately embroidered dresses.
Special Eid Prayers
The day of Eid begins with special prayers also known as ‘Salat al-Eid’. Men along with the children head to the mosques to offer their prayers.
Friends & Family Greet Each Other
No festival is complete without greeting friends and family. Muslims around the world visit each other’s home on this festive day to hug and greet each other with ‘Eid Mubarak’.
Exchange of Gifts
People exchange Eid gifts, which is known as ‘Eidi’ on the day of ‘Eid-Al-Fitr. Children can be seen going up to their elders and demanding their ‘Eidi’- Be it a box of chocolates, toys or some cash. During the evening kids go around showing off their Eidi to each other. This is a cherished childhood memory as when the children grow up, they won’t be able to demand ‘Eidi’ from others but would have to give it instead.
Sheer Khurma & Other Eid Delicacies
Eid-Al-Fitr in India is incomplete without ‘sheer khurma’. It is made using milk, wheat vermicelli, sugar, dry fruits and dates. Every household makes it in their own way but the sweetness of the festival remains the same everywhere. Although it can be prepared throughout the year, the taste of sheer khurma on Eid-Al-Fitr is different. Various other delicacies such as biryani, kebabs, chole, dahi vada etc. are also a part of the special Eid menu.
Just like any other festival, Eid in India is all about spending quality time with your loved ones. It is the time to bond over food and share some beautiful moments together. What are you doing this Eid? Go meet your friends, neighbors and relatives and feel the essence of this festival yourself.