Muslims all over the world start the first day of Shawwal, the tenth lunar month, by offering zakat (charitable donations) and a pre-dawn salat (prayer). And with that, the sunrise to sundown, month-long Ramadan fast ends and the Eid al-Fitr celebration begins.

The meaning of Eid al-Fitr 

Eid al-Fitr (pronounced eed uhl-FEE-truh) means “the Festival (or Feast) of Breaking the Fast.” Celebrated for a day or three (it varies around the world), Eid al-Fitr is a time for giving thanks to Allah (God), expressing joy for blessings, letting go of bad feelings, and welcoming others with open arms.

Muslims greet each other with “Eid Mubarak,” which translates to “Blessed Festival,” “Blessed Feast” or “Blessed Celebration” (less literally, it’s a wish for a happy Eid).

There are different ways to respond when someone says “Eid Mubarak,” to you depending on your part of the world:

  • “Khair Mubarak” is a wish for goodwill, and is the response used most often.
  • “Jazak Allah Khair” means “May Allah reward you with goodness.”
  • “Taqaballahu minna wa minkum” means “May Allah accept it from you and us.” “It” can mean good deeds, worship, fasting—essentially, the spiritual commitment, good deeds and sacrifices made during Ramadan.
  • You can also respond simply with “Eid Mubarak to you.”

 “Another Eid tradition is to receive and send Eid cards to family that don’t live close. I send my cards roughly 20 days before Eid so the recipients have at least a week or more to proudly display all the cards they have received from family, friends and loved ones.” —Sam Lodhi, Hallmark manager
Find cards for Eid here

When is Eid al-Fitr?

Islam follows a lunar calendar, with 29- or 30-day months based on the moon’s phases. Eid begins with the sighting of the waxing crescent moon at the beginning of Shawwal, the tenth lunar month.

That means Eid al-Fitr dates on the Gregorian calendar (the one we follow in the UK) change every year and really can’t be determined until the crescent moon is spotted.

Eid al-Fitr is expected to begin somewhere around the 10th April 2024, depending on the appearance of the crescent moon:

Ways Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr 

There are nearly two billion people in the world who follow Islam and the teachings of its holy book, the Qu’ran. And there are as many ways to observe Eid al-Fitr as there are countries where it’s celebrated.
Rituals include:

  • Paying Zakat al-Fitr, donations given by families who have enough money so those without can afford to celebrate Eid al-Fitr
  • Offering Eid prayers as a community, in open spaces
  • Cleaning up and dressing in your best or new clothing
  • Visiting loved ones to eat, celebrate and exchange gifts
  • Enjoying sweets—Eid al-Fitr is sometimes called “Sugar Fest”
  • Sending Eid al-Fitr cards to loved ones

 “On the day of Eid, we wake up in the morning, put on new clothes we bought specially for Eid and get ready for the Eid prayers. The prayers last about 45 minutes, at the end of which we greet our relatives and friends by hugging each other three times from side to side, shaking their hands and greeting them with ‘Eid Mubarak.’ When we get home from Eid prayers, I always make seven-layer parathas (basically a made-from-scratch fried tortilla) and fried eggs with black tea for all my kids for breakfast (a Lodhi family favorite). This is something my mom did ever since we were kids. I usually have multiple sweets like creamy vermicellis, rice pudding, cookies and hot tea ready for our guests who come to our home. For my family in Pakistan—especially my elders—I call and greet them personally and receive their blessings.” — Sam Lodhi

What are the two Eid festivals? 

Islamic traditions include two holy celebrations called Eid:

  • Eid al-Fitr, the Feast of Breaking the Fast, takes place after the Ramadan fast beginning on the first day of the tenth lunar month, Shawwal, and lasting three days. Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Qu’ran by Allah—speaking through the angel Gabriel—to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).
  • Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, takes place after the Hajj pilgrimage to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, beginning on the 10th day of the 12th lunar month, Dhu al-Hijjah, and lasting four days. Eid al-Adha commemorates Allah’s test of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham): Ibrahim was prepared to sacrifice his firstborn son as commanded, but at the last minute, Allah told him to sacrifice an animal instead.
March 28, 2024
Tags: Eid Learn