from ICWJ board member: Sadat Abiri
Eid al-Fitr, also called the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is one of the two major religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. This year, Eid al-Fitr will occur August 8. This holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month. Eid al-Fitr is a single-day celebration and Muslims are not permitted to fast that day.
The Eid is a very joyous day where Muslims of all ages come out to celebrate the Eid wearing their finest clothing. Children in particular enjoy the Eid since it is a time where they receive gifts, sweets, new clothes and are provided with entertainment.
The Eid day is a true Thanksgiving Day for the believing men and women. On this day, Muslims express their thanks and gratitude for the health, strength and the opportunities of life, which God has given them to fulfill their obligation of fasting and other good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadan. It is also a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity.
The Eid has a particular prayer consisting of two units and generally offered in an open field or a large hall and it may only be performed in congregation. The prayer is followed by a sermon that reminds people of their religious duties, their duties toward the community, their neighbors and to each other.
The important of good deeds and charity are always stressed in Islam and it is even more so during Ramadan. As Ramadan comes close to the end and before the Eid prayers, Muslims are required to pay Zakat Al-Fitr, an amount of money due to the poor and needy of the community meant to bring them joy during the day of Eid.