Eid al-fitar – the festival of giving


Eid al-fitar


Eid al-fitar means the ‘festival of breaking of the fast’, in English. It is also known as ‘Meethi Eid’ or ‘Choti Eid’ in India. Muslims all over celebrate this day with great pomp and fervor. It is celebrated after the month of Ramadan, in which people keep a strict fast. They also participate in charity during this month. The Eid day is believed to be a reward for the month-long fast and prayers and charity by the Allah.
Muslims look forward to celebrating this day, especially those who keep the fast for the whole month from sunrise to sunset and children, as they look forward to gifts that elders in the family give them. People go shopping and buy new clothes; women buy bangles and decorate their hands with henna (Mehendi) for the occasion.

How is it celebrated?
Muslims wear new clothes and gather for prayers in mosques or any outdoor location.
Before the Eid prayers, it is important for all the Muslims who are able to give charity. This charity is as important as the fast and is known as ‘Fitra’. For those who earn above a certain limit they are entitled to give 2.5% of their annual income to the needy, this is known as ‘zakaat’ and is obligatory. It is not only in the form of money, people can give zakaat in the form of food and clothes also, provided it amounts to 2.5% of their annual income of the individual.
After the Namaaz, they greet each other by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’, and also invite their neighbours, friends, relatives to their homes and serve them mouth watering dishes such as sewai, kheer, seer and korma among other sweet dishes.

On Eid, Muslims greet each other with well wishes and conflicts of the past are forgotten. It is a day of joy for them. Handing out gifts to friends, families, relatives and especially children is a must. These are given in the form of Eidi (sum of money) by the elder and the children wish them back.

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