For most people who aren’t Muslims, we consider Eid Al Fitr as one of those celebrations which the government declares as a public holiday. That says a lot about the working spirit of most people in Africa. However, there is much to be learned about this Muslim holiday. As of tomorrow (June 5th), all Muslims will gather to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr. It is only fitting for us to give you some information about the festival. At least you stop thinking about it as just a public holiday.
9. It’s held to celebrate the end of fasting.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunup to sundown to honor the month that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of the month—and the end of the fasting. The prolonged fasting isn’t just about food—it also includes abstaining from taking medications, drinking any liquids (including water), smoking, and having sex.
I don’t think I would last a month without some of these things. Hey, I’m just saying.
8. The meaning of Eid Al-Fitr
The meaning of the name literally explains the whole celebration. Seriously. If you go back to number 9, you’ll have an idea of what it means. Got it? If yes, go to number 7.
If not, the name means Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. That’s it. Was that so hard?
7. It begins when the new moon is first sighted
Eid al-Fitr doesn’t begin until the new moon appears in the sky. Traditionally, however, it doesn’t begin until the barest sliver of a waxing crescent moon is seen. One thing you should know is that the new moon is sighted at different times (even days) across the world.
What this means is that the festival will begin at different times depending on your location.
6. Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr are held on Different Gregorian Dates Every Year
The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar which is based on the solar cycle. New months start ans end with each new moon. Why is this a big deal? Well, the average new moon appears every 29.53 days which is shorter than the Gregorian month of 30 days.
Thus, every year, Ramadan is held about 10 days earlier than it was the previous year in the Gregorian calendar. Soon enough, we might celebrate it in January. A public holiday in January? Sign me up.
Also Read: Top 5 Mysterious Events To Happen in Africa
5. The festival lasts for three days
Depending on how it falls on the calendar, the parties could last much longer. For example, if the three days fall mid-week, Muslims will likely still be celebrating over the weekend. This year’s celebrations have fallen mid-week. If you know, you know.
4. On Eid morning, Muslims cleanse their bodies and don new clothes
They cleanse their bodies in a ritual called “ghusl”. They also dress in their finest threads and decorate their hands with elaborate henna patterns. This is just similar to seeing people wearing their newest clothes over the Easter holiday. So, if you see your Muslim friend dripping in new clothes, just know it’s their time to shine.
3. Eid Mubarak
That phrase is actually a greeting which means “Have a blessed Eid”.
2. There are gifts involved
Eid al-Fitr is a time of abundance—and not just abundant food. Gifts are often given, especially to children. These gifts of money, accessories, home goods, or flowers are called “Eidi.”
On the subject of food, now is a good time to drop that beef with your Muslim neighbor. You do not want to miss out on the food.
1. It is also known as “The Lesser Eid”
Eid al-Fitr is one of two important Eid celebrations in the Muslim faith. The other is Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice or “Greater Eid.” Eid al-Adha celebrates the sacrifice Ibrahim (Abraham) was willing to make to Allah. Eid al-Adha is held at a different time on the Gregorian calendar every year. We might cover another article about it once the time comes.
Now you know what the festival is all about. Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim colleagues.