Muslims have two major celebrations in the year. Both are called Eid (meaning celebration). Eid Al-Fitr or the Celebration of Breaking the Fast marks the end of Ramadan. And Eid – Ul- Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice, celebrated after the end of Ramadan, ninth month of Islamic calendar, it occurs approximately after seventy days.
Eid Al-Fitr is the celebration that comes at the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of fasting, every day from dawn until sunset. The night before Eid is called Chand Raat, or night of the moon. People visit bazaars and shopping malls with their families and children for last moments Eid shopping. Women, especially young girls often paint each others’ hands with traditional “henna” also called “mehendi” and wear colorful bangles.
On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family is awake very early and then after praying the first normal everyday prayer, eats in a small quantity symbolizing the end of Ramadan. They then attend special group prayers held only for this occasion in mosques, in large open areas, stadiums or arenas.
The prayer is generally short and is followed by a sermon (kutba) in which the Imam (holy priest) gives advice to the Muslim community and usually Muslims are encouraged to end any past quarrels they may have.
When the local Imam declares Eid Ul Fitr everyone greets and hugs each other. Worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace and love after the prayer. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims celebrate not only the end of fasting but also to thank God for the help and strength that they believe He gave them throughout the previous month to help them practice self-control. It is a time of giving and sharing.
Another one is Eid Ul Adha, this festival is known by several names all over the world but Muslims celebrate and perform it traditionally and ritually in the most efficient way irrespective of where they are. The festival is celebrated to recall the readiness of prophet Ibrahim’s to surrender Ishmael, his son for god and so it known as the “festival of sacrifice”.
Muslims repeat aloud prayers on this festival and remember God. Muslims wear new clothes on this day and delicious recipes are followed to cook delicious food.
During these times, Muslims give thanks to Allah for His blessings and mercy, celebrate the holy days, and wish each other well. While appropriate words in any language are welcome, there are some traditional or common Arabic greetings that one may use or come across:
* “Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair!”
(“May every year find you in good health!”)
* “Eid Mubarak!”
* “Eid Saeed!”
* “Taqabbala Allahu minna wa minkum.”
(“May Allah accept from us, and from you.”)
Both the Eid ends with lots of joy, well wishes and blessings. The purposes of both festivals are to thank Allah (God) for giving strength and courage to perform daily work. People send sms and greetings to wish each other Eid Mubarak.