What is Eid-ul-Fitr?
Eid, also known as Eid al-Fitr and Eid-ul-Fitr is an islamic festival which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
According to the Islamic faith, Ramadan is the holiest month of Islamic calendar, which is also a lunar calendar, so the new moon marks both the beginning and the end of Ramadan. It is believed that it was during this period that the Holy Quran was given to Prophet Muhammad. Muslims therefore, fast for the entire month, starting at sunrise and ending at sunset, from food, drinking (including water), sexual activities, smoking, chewing gum, as well as, anything classified as sinful activities (as defined as anything that goes against the commandments of Allah). Muslims who have not reached puberty, elderly, chronically ill, travelling, menstruating, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or suffering from mental illness can abstain from fasting. Fasting during Ramadan is called Sawm and it is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, culminating with the sighting of the crescent moon.
Eid is not only the feast that marks the end of this holy month, but also the beginning of the next month, Shawwal, which is the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. Some Muslims fast for six days, starting the day after Eid, since fasting is not permitted on this day. Muslims believe that the fast of Ramadan is akin to observing ten months of fasting. The additional six days of fasting during Shawwal is like observing two months of fasting, so together it is equivalent to fasting for a year.
Eid is one of the major celebrations in the Islamic calendar. Muslims prepare delicious meals to break their fast, while greeting family members, friends and visitors. The traditional greeting is Eid Mubarak, which literally means Blessed Eid. You can also just say Happy Eid.
In addition to prayers and meals, there are other activities during Eid celebrations. Zakat is also one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which means to give to those in need. Gifts, food and sweets are distributed through the community so that everyone can enjoy the festivities. Children are often given money and gifts from their elders which is known as Eidi.
Here in Trinidad and Tobago, Eid is one of the national public holidays observed in the country with many Non-Muslims visiting their Muslim friends and family members to bring them well wishes. In typical Trinbago fashion, large gatherings cooking and eating delicious meals together, with the traditional sweets, halwa and sawine is the order of the day.
This year will be different, since are in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has instituted restrictions on gathering in an effort to slow down the infection rate. The best thing to do is to celebrate with those who live in your home. You can video call with friends and family so as to not encourage anyone to risk coming out.
Wishing you all Eid Mubarak!
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