Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eid-ul-Fitr Across The Globe - - A Reward Against Ramadan Fasting From Allah Taála

For Muslims all over the Globe, Eid Ul Fitr, or Meethi (Sweet) Eid as it is known in Pakistan, is one of the favourite celebrations of the Muslim calendar.

Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fitr means “charity” and so the holiday symbolises the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated starting on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal.

Typically, Muslims wake up early in the morning and have a small breakfast with their family, before attending a special Eid prayer (salah) that is performed in congregation at mosques or open areas like fields, squares etc. Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes, new clothes if possible, for the occasion. No Adhan or Iqama is to be pronounced for this Eid prayer, and it consists of only two raka’ahs.

The Eid prayer is followed by the khutbah (sermon) and then a supplication (dua’) asking for forgiveness, mercy and help for all living beings across the world. The khutbah also instructs Muslims as to the performance of rituals of Eid, such as the zakat. It is then customary to embrace the persons sitting on either side of one, whilst greeting them.

The traditional Eid greeting is “Eid Mubarak” followed by an embrace. Eid is celebrated in different ways across the globe, but the overall feeling of joy and happiness is shared by everyone.

In countries like Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh Children receive new clothing and families visit relatives and friends. The night before Eid is called Chand Raat, which means, night of the moon. People often visit bazaars and shopping malls, with their families and children, for last minute Eid shopping. Women, especially young girls, often paint each others’ hands with traditional “henna” and wear colourful bangles.

Sweets are made and “mithai” is usually given out to family members and friends. Eid cakes and desserts are also very popular items to be gifted to relatives.

In recent years the practice of sending Eid cards has increased considerably.

In India and Pakistan Henna is applied to women’s hands of all ages, and children receive “Eddi” which can be a small amount of money or sweets.

In the United Kingdom due to the large amount of resident Pakistanis and Indians, Eid is celebrated with much fervor.

Eid ul-Fitr is not a recognised public holiday in the United Kingdom but in a large ethnically Muslim area, normally schools and local businesses give exemptions to the Muslim community to take three days off. In the rest of the UK it is not recognised as the date of Eid ul fitr is based on the Lunar calendar and the sighting of Shawwal’s moon and it is not a fixed date.

People cook traditional food for their relatives. Dishes such as Samosas, biryani or pulao Rice and handi are particularly popular.

In North America, That is The USA and Canada, the end of Ramadan is announced via e-mail, postings on websites, or chain phone calls to all members of a Muslim community. Working persons usually attempt to make arrangements for a lighter work day on the days that may possibly be the Eid day, but many North American Muslims are often noted to not be able to take the entire day off.

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Eid is also commonly known as Hari Raya. Hari Raya literally means ‘Day of Celebration’ i.e. ‘The Day’. Muslims in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore celebrate Eid like other Muslims throughout the world. It is the biggest holiday in Indonesia and Malaysia and is the most awaited one. Shopping malls and bazaars are filled with people days ahead of Hari Raya, causing a distinctive festive atmosphere throughout the country. Many banks, government and private offices are closed for this holiday, which usually lasts a week

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Turkey Eid celebrations are all abound, with sales and festivals starting in the holy month of Ramadan and all night festivals going up to Eid. In Saudi Arabia the influx of people from all across the Globe is immense and the Holy Mosque in Mecca is packed full. Ramadan is the month of prayer and forgiveness, so all who can afford it, to try to perform Umrah in this holy month, and some try to stay until Eid.

Eid in Muslim countries is a beloved public holiday, where schools and government offices are generally closed for the entire period of the celebrations.

It is a time for people to attend prayer services, put on their best clothes often purchased just for the occasion, and to visit all their loved ones such as friends, relatives and neighbours and pay their respects to the deceased with organised visits to cemeteries.

In Pakistan Eid is a much loved and much celebrated holiday. Eid ul fitr is especially a favorite as it comes after a month of fasting and prayer.

May you all have a blessed and wonderful Eid. *

Read the latest and more comprehensive article on Chand Raat 2011 and its festivities  

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