During the month of Ramadan, Muslims observe a strict fast and participate in pious activities such as charitable giving and peace-making. It is a time of intense spiritual renewal for those who observe it. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world observe a joyous three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking). Answer: Eid al-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy.
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 of actual food — rice, barley, dates, rice, etc. — to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking).
On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early in the morning in outdoor locations or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer.
After the Eid prayer, Muslims usually scatter to visit various family and friends, give gifts (especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday.
Muslims in much of the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Worshippers gathered in mosques in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, to begin the celebrations Thursday.
Celebrations are going on in much of Asia and the Middle East, including in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites.
Crowds of worshippers prayed and celebrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, while Egypt’s interim leaders attended prayers at a mosque in the capital.
U.S. President Barack Obama wished Muslims a “blessed and joyful celebration,” citing the traditions of Ramadan as ones that serve as a reminder to be grateful and compassionate.
In Pakistan, however, preparations for the feast were marred by violence, with a bombing at the funeral of a murdered police officer, killing more than 30 people and injuring at least 60.
Eid al-Fitr celebrates the purification achieved during Ramadan – a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Eid is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal and a major holiday. Because most significant Islamic events depend on a lunar sighting, the holiday’s timing can vary in different countries. In Oman, officials said the Shawwal moon, which marks the start of Eid al-Fitr, had not been seen, so the feast would begin on Friday. And many Muslims in the United States will begin celebrations after sundown Thursday.
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