Happy Eid al-Fitr 2017! What is Eid? Here’s your guide to the meaning of the Muslim festival as Ramadan comes to an end

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Happy Eid al-Fitr 2017! What is Eid? Here’s your guide to the meaning of the Muslim festival as Ramadan comes to an end

Muslims across the world are greeting each other today by saying “Eid Mubarak”, as the month-long fast of Ramadan comes to a close.

Because the timing of Eid al-Fitr is based on the Islamic lunar calendar, it can be difficult to predict when the festival will take place.

But when the new moon appears over Saudi Arabia, the Islamic community break into colourful celebrations, throwing food festivals, performing music and spending time with friends and family.

Here’s a guide to Eid al-Fitr, and how to know when it takes place.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

The arabic name Eid al-Fitr translates to ‘festival of the breaking of the fast’ in English.

It marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, and the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and marks the month in which the Quran was first revealed.

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Muslims spend the month fasting from dawn until sunset.

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Ramadan 2017

When is Eid al-Fitr observed?

The end of Ramadan is based on the Islamic lunar calendar, so it can be difficult to predict.

Eid al-Fitr is observed when the first new moon is sighted.

This can lead to the festival being celebrated on different days in different parts of the world.

While some Muslims wait to be able to see the moon themselves, many either use the calculated time of the new moon, or base it on the declaration made in Saudi Arabia.

Eid al-Fitr will begin in the evening of Sunday 25 June and the celebrations will end in the evening of Monday 26 June.

Indonesian muslims perform Eid Al-Fitr prayer on 'sea of sands' at Parangkusumo beach on July 28, 2014 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Eid Prayer: Indonesian Muslims performing the Eid Prayer on the Sea of Sands at Parangkusumo
(Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

How is Eid al-Fitr celebrated?

On the day of Eid, Muslims gather at mosques in the morning to perform the Eid prayer, before holding family gatherings and visiting friends.

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Muslims share feasts and sweets to mark the end of the fasting period, and greet each other by saying “Eid Mubarak” – which roughly translates as “happy Eid” or “blessed Eid.”

The celebrations last for three days, and are seen as a time of forgiveness and of giving thanks to Allah for helping people to complete their spiritual fasting.

Many Muslims display this thanksgiving by giving donations and food to those less fortunate than themselves.

In most Muslim countries, the three days of Eid are observed as public and school holiday. This is not the case in the UK, but many employers and schools allow time off for Muslim workers and children – particularly in areas with a high Muslim population.

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