Eid al-Fitr (“festival of breaking of the fast”), is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. Eid al-Fitr is also known as Hari Raya in several countries.
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one, two or three days. Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Eid Mubarak (“Blessed Eid”) or ‘Eid Sa‘id (“Happy Eid”). It is common to greet people with “Salam Aidilfitri” or “Selamat Hari Raya” which means “Happy Eid”.
In addition, many countries have their own greetings in the local language – in Turkey, for example, a typical saying might be Bayraminiz kutlu olsun or “May your Bayram – Eid – be blessed.”
Muslims believe that they are commanded by Allah, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat and fitra before offering the Eid prayers.
History of Eid al-Fitr
Eid al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is observed on the first of the month of Shawwal at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims undergo a period of fasting.
According to certain traditions, these festivals were initiated in Medina after the migration of Muhammad from Mecca.
When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they used to entertain themselves with recreation and merriment. He asked them about the nature of these festivities at which they replied that these days were occasions of fun and recreation. At this, the Prophet remarked that the Almighty has fixed two days [of festivity] instead of these for you which are better than these: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
For Muslims, both the festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are occasions for showing gratitude to Allah and remembering Him, as well as giving alms to the poor.