Muslims around the world fast during the Holy month of Ramzan (9th lunar month) from dawn till dusk, practicing self-restraint from food, drink and all forms of immoral behavior or impure thoughts. Fasting has spiritual, moral, and health benefits not only for individuals but also for communities as a whole. Eid-ul-Fitr marks the finale of the Holy month of Ramzan which signifies the completion of an act of devotion teaching Muslims to make sacrifices while being steadfast and true.
Eid-ul-Fitr — celebrated on the 1st day of 10th lunar month, Shawwal — is a celebration observed by all Muslims where communities come together to glorify the blessings of Allah and help lessen the burden of their brothers and sisters who are suffering physically, financially or spiritually.
A time when lights illuminate communities, big feasts, families and friends come under one roof to celebrate the festivities, Eid is a time to share happiness, harmony and amalgamation. Communities come together to form a circle where no man, women or child goes without receiving gifts as giving back is a huge part of the celebration. Eid is a reminder to spread joy, laughter, solace and comfort to everyone with hope and assurance, especially to those who are struggling.
Eid-ul-Fitr is announced at the sighting of the Shawaal moon. In many parts of the world the night before Eid known as Cha’and Raat or night of the moon, marks the beginning of the festivities. Bazaars are swarmed with young and old, girls can be found decorating their hands with hennah and glass bangles, a firework show at the end is the highlight of the evening for all.
Dressing up in new clothes, representing spiritual renewal and spreads of feast are a common tradition in all Muslim households. Before the Eid prayer begins, Muslims make an alms payment traditionally called Fitrana for the month of Ramzan, in form of food or its cash equivalent to the less fortunate. However, every country has their own unique Eid traditions followed by the Eid prayer on the morning of 1st Shawwal.
In Pakistan, new festive clothing, mehndi and colorful traditional glass bangles are the highlights of Eid festivities for all women. Masjids and households are decorated with lights and every household prepares a signature festive dish like the sheer-khurma, sweet Vermicelli popularly known as Saviyaan and a variety of other dishes like chicken or mutton Biryani for families and friends. Returning home from Eid prayers, greeting children, women and elders with Eid Mubarak, children are gifted with eidi by their elders as they sit around the table to enjoy the scrumptious spread prepared with love and affection by their elders.
The first day of Eid in Arab nations is reserved for family and relatives much like other countries. Eid prayers in the morning are accompanied by a traditional feast in the afternoon at their grandparents’ house. Women wear embellished abayas, children receive eidi and dates from the eldest family members. Exchanging gifts with one another to spread the joy of Eid is another tradition enjoyed by the Arabs.
Eid-ul-Fitr is known as Lebaran in Indonesia and it is one of the most important holidays celebrated by Indonesians. Similar to other Muslim nations, Indonesians commemorate the celebrations with Eid prayers, gatherings and family reunions. The foremost tradition is Mudik, homecoming, when people who leave their hometowns to work in big cities travel back to their native city to spend Eid with their family and friends.
Eid-ul-fitr is called Şeker Bayramı, translating to festival of sweets, in Turkey. Turkish celebrate by wearing new clothes locally named as bayramlık and greet one another with the phrase Bayramınız Mübarek Olsun, which translates to: May your Eid be blessed. Baklava is the famous Turkish delight prepared on Eid.
But no matter where Eid-ul-Fitr is being celebrated, it is a gathering for Muslims to show gratitude to Allah following the month of reflection, Ramzan. The holiday serves as a great reminder for all Muslims to be eternally grateful for the blessings bestowed upon them and to share these blessings with those who may be less fortunate. This remains an important part of observing the Muslim faith. Throughout the month of Ramzan, Muslims not only fast and engage in prayer seeking forgiveness and Allah’s pleasure, but they also try to immerse themselves in the true spirit of Ramzan, which is to be mindful of those who have less. In this context, apart from helping the less fortunate by giving the obligatory zakat, Muslims aslo make a point of helping others by giving charity in the form of money, provisions, clothes and serving meals at sehri and iftar. This invokes a spirit of goodwill and community welfare.
Eid is a time when families and communities come together. This makes it a festival that is not only to be celebrated with family and friends but one which is marked by a general sense of fellowship within the community. It symbolizes unity, harmony, goodwill and a sense of communion that is to be observed not only on this day but which should be integrated into our national life as well, if we are to fight the many menaces that face us. HH
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