Everything You Need to Know About Eid al-Fitr

This year, the month of April contains a number of major religious holidays celebrated by people of different faiths. Easter in Christianity, Passover in Judaism, and the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr. For those who practice the Islamic faith, this much-anticipated celebration comes after the last day of Ramadan — a holy month of fasting, worship, and prayer for Muslims. Read on to learn more about Eid al-Fitr, including the meaning of Eid al-Fitr, when it takes place, and how the significant holiday is celebrated.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr is one of two major holidays on the Islamic calendar. It’s an Arabic term which means “Festival of Breaking Fast,” because it’s celebrated at the conclusion of Ramadan.

Muslims are of different cultures and languages, so you might hear Eid al-Fitr called by other names as well. To give a few examples, you may hear Eid al-Fitr referred to as Bayram in Turkey, Hari Raya in Malaysia, or Korité in Senegal. (Think of it the same way that Christmas is known by names such as Noél or Navidad. It’s the same holiday, but in different languages!)

When is Eid al-Fitr in 2022?

Eid al-Fitr begins on Shawwal 1st and continues until Shawwal 3rd (Shawwal is the name of the tenth Islamic month.) It’s a three-day holiday based off the Islamic lunar calendar.

Eid al-Fitr is known as a movable feast on the solar Gregorian calendar. Every year, you can expect it to take place about 11 days earlier than the previous Gregorian year. The holiday isn’t tied to any season — it can be experienced in all four seasons every 40 years or so.

On a Gregorian calendar, the exact date of Eid al-Fitr is sometimes tentative, because lunar months begin once the new crescent is sighted. Some Muslims prefer to sight the crescent with their own eyes before declaring it a new lunar month, whereas others celebrate Eid al-Fitr based on scientific calculations of the crescent moon.

This year, Eid al-Fitr is expected to take place on or around Friday, April 21, 2023 to Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Why is Eid al-Fitr celebrated?

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated to mark the completion of Ramadan. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam: A commandment that takes a lot of patience and hard work to complete. Eid al-Fitr is an occasion to celebrate all the hard work of the previous month.

It’s also an occasion to praise God for the opportunity of Ramadan, a month in which good deeds are multiplied and sins are forgiven.

young woman welcomes and hugs a friend holding a gift to eid al fitr celebration
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How is Eid al-Fitr celebrated?

There are as many ways to celebrate Eid al-Fitr! Here are five popular cross-cultural traditions:

  1. Eid al-Fitr is a time to give to charity. Zakat (literally translated as “that which purifies”) is a mandatory charity given by those who match the eligible criteria of wealth to those in need.

  2. Dress your best on Eid al-Fitr. It’s encouraged to wear new clothes for Eid, or your best set of clothes, if not new. Eid shopping, or sewing, is a part of many families’ holiday rituals.

  3. There is a special Eid prayer. Eid prayer is a special sermon and morning prayer in congregation on the first day of Eid. So instead of 5 prayers on this day, there are 6 prayers. The prayers are concluded by hugging or kissing the people next to you in prayer and wishing them peace and a happy Eid!

  4. Another popular tradition is the Eid Takbir. This is a praise that is recited (in congregation and/or individually) throughout the days of Eid — particularly after each of the five daily prayers and after Eid prayer.

  5. Eat! It is forbidden to fast on Eid. This is a time to get together with family and friends and eat together after a month of fasting.

family and friends enjoying meal during hari raya celebration eid al fitr
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What does “Eid Mubarak” mean?

Eid means “festival” or “feast.” Mubarak means “blessed.” So, you can use Eid Mubarak as a greeting to wish a blessed feast and a happy holiday to family, friends, and neighbors celebrating Eid al-Fitr.

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