When does Eid Ul Fitr fall?
The joyous three-day festival, Eid Ul-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking), which begins after the sighting of a new crescent moon, marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, during which devout Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. Eid Ul-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month after Ramadan in the Islamic calendar.
It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy. Eid also represents the beginning of preparations for the Hajj period which ends with Eid Al-Adha, and is approximately 70 days after Eid Ul Fitr. In Mecca, during Eid Ul Fitr, there is a moratorium on Umrah pilgrims for these 3 days of Eid, unless the pilgrims are Saudi in which case they are permitted to visit Mecca.
The start of the Eid Ul-Fitr is often appreciated with a morning breakfast....
According to tradition of 'how to do Eid':
Before the day of Eid, at the closing of Ramadan, Muslim families give a set amount for donation to the poor. This donation is of actual food -- basic staples -- to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking).
On the day of Eid, Muslims gather early morning in outdoors or at mosques to perform prayers for Eid.
After the Eid prayer, Muslims tend to disperse to visit various family and friends, give gifts (in Arabic the eidiyeh especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire 3-day period is an official government/school holiday. By tradition, younger members of the family usually take this opportunity to visit the elders or pay their respects to the senior members of the extended families.
At these visits it is customary to be served with Maamoul - a nut or date-filled cookie-like sweet, often individually wrapped. Ma'amoul is served in celebrations in the Middle East. It is good form to accept your maamoul offering, rather than to politely decline. And since it is understood that you may be doing many family rounds of visits, it is considered OK to pop your accepted cookie into you bag for later, since you risk otherwise spoiling your appetite for the big feast at lunch!
A large family meal is usually taken for the first day of Eid either hosted by one member of the family (either once again at the elder's house, or perhaps the eldest married child's home, whoever is more fit to host and cook for the entire family). In modern times, some families may opt to dine out for the first day of Eid or the following days.
Habits and customs of the Eid
The following are some of the things a person traditionally is recommended to do at Eid:
1. Take a bath (Hamam al Eid) 2. Brush ones teeth. (if you don't do so all year round!) 3. Take a hair cut (men only!) 4. Clip nails. (to look tidy and presentable when visiting the family elders!) 5. To wear new clothes (or clean clothes if you can't afford a new outfit!) 6. To apply perfume. 7. To perform Fajr at a local mosque. 9. To pay Zacca or Fitra. 10. To eat odd numbers of dates before going to open air Eid prayers or to eat something sweet. 11. To go to mosque one route and come back home another.