Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar is a holy month for Muslims around the world. It was during the blessed month of Ramadan that verses of the Holy Quran were first revealed to Prophet Muhammad. As a mark of respect to Allah and to show gratitude to him for the true knowledge that he gifted to his sons and daughters, the prophet asked his followers to pass the month of Ramadan in fasting, prayers and other austerities, and to end the month-long non-indulgence with the festive celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Among Muslim festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr, or the 'fast-breaking' festival, stands out in its popularity and religious significance as it generates the deep devotion and surrender to Allah during Ramadan. Eid-ul-Fitr refers to the breaking of the month-long routine of fasting from sunrise to sunset and implies a 'festive' occasion that spreads joy and happiness all around. Eid reaffirms the ideals of piety, empathy, charity and solidarity among Muslims all over the world. It is celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm and affection.
While Ramadan is a time of intense spiritual renewal, the three-day long Eid-ul-Fitr, or the Festival of Fast-Breaking, celebrates happiness and contentment at having been able to sacrifice for Allah during the Holy Month. The tenth month of Shawwal thus begins with a renewed commitment to promote peace, strengthen the feeling of brotherhood and bring oneself back to the normal course of life after a month-long period of self-denial and religious devotion.
Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance at the end of Ramadan. Before the day of Eid, during the last few days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the poor. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking).
Once the crescent moon is sighted at the end of Ramadan, it is time to break the fast and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, with joy and enthusiasm shared among friends and family members. On the Eid day Muslims wear new clothes and gather early in the morning for special Eid Prayer ceremonies in their nearby mosques or outdoor locations. They thank Allah by reciting various congregational prayers and Eid-ul-Fitr Duas.
After the prayers they gather together is a get together at homes for an Eid meal where family members celebrate the occasion with friends and relatives. Children especially enjoy Eid celebrations as they get clothes, gifts, perks, and sweets from all their kith and kin. Children also make special Eid greetings for their friends and decorate their houses in special ways to enhance the beauty of the Eid Festival.
On this auspicious occasion people greet each other with wishes of Eid Mubarak. The spirit of Eid transcends community and religious barriers, and the sight of even non-Muslims partaking of Eid celebrations is a common one.