On May 13th, we Muslims will be celebrating our holiday called Eid-al-Fitr. Eid al-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast” or Lesser Eid, is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. This religious Eid spans the first three days of the month of Shawwal and Muslims are not actually permitted to fast. You may be wondering, “why does this day change every year?” Great question! Similar to our Jewish brothers and sisters Muslims observe a Lunar calendar vs. a solar calendar which is only 355/356 days a year. This also explains why the observance or the calculation of the new moon (aka “the moon wars”) is important to Muslims as this determines the beginning of the following lunar month.
Muslims around the world celebrate in a variety of ways but all begin their day with a special Eid Prayer where we rejoice in our abundance. Pre-covid times when prayers were complete you’d hear “Eid Mubarak” or “Eid Kareem” as you turned and embraced the person who prayed right next to you, even if they were total strangers. In Muslim countries these days are national holidays where people visit friends and neighbors always with a sweet treat in hand. However, unfortunately that is not the case in the states, but our family has always made it a priority to take the day off and spend it in celebration, even if we continue to be in the minority. Our family focuses on three main components during this celebratory time, in addition to eating of course!
Philanthropy-All month-long we are encouraged to participate in charitable acts, whether you are donating your time or money. Being mindful of our family’s abundance is something we really strive to facilitate in our children. The Qu’ran specifically says: “Believe in Allah and his messenger, and give charity out of the (substance) that Allah has made you heirs of. For those of you who believe and give charity – for them is a great reward, ” this is officially known as Zakat-al-Fitr.
Forgiveness-Fasting is a physical tangible declaration of faith and in addition to that we are encouraged to seek forgiveness and to forgive as an opportunity to lighten your soul. Ramadan is not just the abstinence of eating/drinking, it is also the abstinence of bad thoughts, bad wishes, bad intentions. So our family motto is to live this truth throughout the year but especially during this month as a way of renewing our faith.
Family-When the craziness of the “everyday” scatters your family in all directions having a designated time of the year to reconnect is a blessing. Our family spends the day usually volunteering post-prayer, opening gifts, and did I mention eating. We use this day “off” (even if it isn’t recognized) to reset our intentions to God (Allah) and to each other. As we turn the page of another new (lunar) month, we wish you and your family a very Blessed Eid Mubarak.
Event Lists (Virtual and In-Person)
Ramadan and Eid Storytime (splashthat.com)
Eid ul-Fitr Salat & Celebrations — NWMI
Recipes — Mind Body Soul Sisterz
Popular Children’s Books in Eid
Ramadan Around the World By: Ndaa Hassan
Under the Ramadan Moon By: Sylvia Whitman
It’s Ramadan Curious George By: Hena Khan
Night of the Moon By: Hena Khan
Festival of Eid By: Omar Khwaja
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.
This is a great summary of the Ramadan holiday, and I particularly like the concept of fasting not just being abstinence from food, but also includes and encourages many positive actions and thoughts. We all need spiritual nourishment, and the faith and devotion of our Muslim brothers and sisters is inspiring.
Enjoyed reading this wonderful explaination. Love the idea of reconnecting with loved ones, fasting from bad thoughts, and giving to others. Thanks for englightening us so eloquently.