Eid al-Fitr is a momentous occasion in Islam. “Eid” means a “gala” in Arabic & is a time of happiness. It finishes off the month of Ramadan (Islamic ninth month), or the month of fasting. Eid al-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, which is the tenth month in the Islamic calendar. Eid al-Fitr lasts for a day less than Eid al-Adha, which lasts for four days.

The actual date of Eid al-Fitr depends on a specific type of moon sighting. This observance of the moon decides if Ramadan will last 29 or 30 days. Due to the inconsistency of when the moon appears across all the countries of the globe, Eid al-Fitr might fall within a day’s difference when a comparison is made between countries.

One reason Ramadan is there is to remember the Quran being conveyed to Prophet Muhammad. One unconfirmed reason for Eid al-Fitr is to commemorate the Prophet’s voyage to Medina from Mecca in 622 A.D. What He saw there were people full of joy, taking part in different activities. He then came up with the idea of two Eids in which to rejoice. 

There are various verbal salutations such as: “Eid Mubarak,” “Happy Eid,” or “Kullu Aam wa Antum Bikhair (Arabic)” to express oneself in this occasion.

Prayers for Eid al-Fitr are performed in a particular way. One example is that unlike regular prayers, there is no summon for it. These prayers occur in large groups & may take place in an appointed place. There is a form of lecture, called “khutba.” It is prohibited to fast on the first day of Eid al-Fitr.

There is also Zakat al-Fitr donated. This charity is in the form of a specific amount of food or its equal form of currency.

To celebrate Eid al-Fitr, people try to look extra presentable & make a trip to one another’s residences. Among other dishes, delicacies are made; presents & cards are conferred. People put up different forms of illumination & floral arrangements. In some Muslim countries, they take a day(s) off. In some countries, there are huge spurts of shoppers during this time.

Ideas behind this occasion include to ask God for mercy & be thankful to God for the energy & durability He has provided. 

There are three advantages to Eid al-Fitr. There is the health aspect. You learn to function without eating or drinking anything from sunrise to sunset. There is the religious aspect: to remember the Prophet (the Quran came down to Him; He went to Medina from Mecca & saw happy people there.) The prayers & charity are there to remember God. Thirdly, there is the community feeling. Everyone makes an extra effort to look impressive, traverse to one another’s houses, & bestow each other with gifts. This is an occasion that encompasses a lot of good habits & goodness in personality.