Sometime in June each year, Muslims in all countries celebrate the end of Ramadan with a festival known as Eid Al-Fitr. With over one billion Muslims throughout the world, it’s important that Ramadan is better understood and celebrated.
- First Sighting of the New Moon
Muslims begin the festival when the new moon first appears in the sky. That means that Eid Al-Fitr can start at different times in different places around the world. To create a uniform appearance, some Muslims start their celebration when the new moon is first sighted over Mecca rather than where they live. Because there is no way to predict exactly when the moon will appear each year, there is no set date for the festival, although it is usually toward the end of June.
- Breaking the Fast
Ramadan is the month of fasting when Muslims go without food and water from the time the sun rises until it sets. Ramadan is intended to honor the month that the Prophet Mohammed first received the Quran, and Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting at the end of the month.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast from more than food and water. They also abstain from smoking, taking medications and having sex.
- Three-Day Celebration
You can imagine if you had been fasting for a month that you would be excited to celebrate the end of that period. Muslims host a festival that lasts for three full days, maybe even longer. For example, if the festival ends during the middle of the week, the celebration will go on over the weekend.
- Starting the Celebration Clean
As Muslims prepare for the Eid Al-Fitr festival, they perform a ritual that cleanses their bodies, also known as ghusl. Once their bodies are clean, they wear their nicest outfits and may add elaborate henna decorations to their bodies. Muslims differ all over the world in that some wear more contemporary clothing while others prefer the traditional dress.
- Beginning With a Prayer
Once Muslims are clean and in their nicest clothing, they gather in outdoor locations or mosques to begin the festival with a prayer. After the prayer, they may clean and pray over the gravesites of relatives or loved ones.
- Giving Gifts
After a month of giving up the things that bring pleasure, Muslims really take the opportunity to celebrate with an abundance of gifts during the celebration. Many gifts are given, particularly to the kids, and are often home goods, accessories, money or flowers. If you have family celebrating Ramadan throughout the world and want to participate in the gift giving part of Eid Al-Fitr, you can get money to them quickly and safely with a Ria money transfer.
- Celebrating Eid Al-Fitr in America
In 1805, President Thomas Jefferson hosted the first iftar dinner at the White House, but this was the daily meal that is eaten at the end of fasting during Ramadan. The first time there was an Eid Al-Fitr dinner at the White House was in 1996, hosted by First Lady Hillary Clinton, and the tradition was continued every year they were in the White House. Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama hosted a celebration each year in the White House for the end of Ramadan.
- What It Means
The name of the festival is literally translated into “The Feast of the Fast-Breaking” or “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast” so there is no confusion about what is being celebrated during the festivities. As Muslims celebrate their holy month and important dates for their religion, Eid Al-Fitr marks an exciting, fun-filled reward for a month of exercising control over their bodies.
Whether or not you take part in the festival, you can support those who do through Ria Money Transfer.