The holy month of Ramadan is coming to an end, and with that, Muslims around the globe are all set to celebrate the festival Eid Al Fitr, translating to ‘Holiday of Breaking the Fast’. It is one of the two official festivals in Islam. The central theme of the festival is around food, because of which the nickname “Sweet Eid” or “Sugar Feast” came into being.
The festival originated around the time when Islam as a religion came into being. According to some, when Prophet Mohammed migrated to Medina while looking for safety and shelter for his people, he found people celebrating twice a year, a day of joy and merriment. At which he said that Allah had fixed two days of festivity: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Different cultures and different sects have diverse views on the origination. However, the differences don’t come in between the closeness of the community when it comes to being together and enjoying while thanking for everything they have been granted by the Almighty.
When is Eid al-Fitr in the US?
Both the Muslim festivals, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, are based on the Moon, which means the moon is a crescent on which night determines the day when the celebration will be. This is a major reason why Eid falls on different days in different parts of the world. Muslims follow a certain lunar calendar, and their system of months is also based on that. So it’s impossible to be cent percent sure of the day of the festivities. However, it is more probable for Eid to fall on May 2, 2022, in the US.
How is Eid celebrated?
Eid is determined by the presence of the crescent moon in the sky. So technically, Eid begins the very night when the crescent moon shows up. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one to three days based on cultural beliefs, and as opposed to the month of Ramadan, it is forbidden to fast on the day of Eid. The morning starts with an obligatory act of charity, followed by a special congregational prayer. After which, people greet each other by saying, ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘May your Eid be blessed’.
Different countries and cultures have different ways of greeting, but the enthusiasm remains the same. A wide range of foods and sweet dishes are prepared and consumed by people with their families. Houses are decorated, gatherings are conducted, everyone dresses up in new clothes, children receive money as gifts from the elders, and people pray for everyone’s good, and with that, Ramadan comes to an end.
What is Ramadan?
All of us have heard the word Ramadan in some way or the other, but do we know the actual significance behind it? The reason why more than two billion people worldwide abstain from even a single drop of water from dawn to sunset? The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan gives an opportunity to each and every Muslim for self-accountability, control over one’s desires, realize the plight of others and empathize with it, and be thankful for everything they have been granted with.
The month of Ramadan starts with a crescent new moon in the sky and ends with another crescent moon sighting, and is followed by 29 or 30 days of fasting, and the answer to “Not even water?” is, yes, not even water.
Important components of the month of Ramadan
The days of Ramadan are very different than the regular ones. The practices make it worthwhile and feel much more rewarding, though it requires effort and dedication more than anything. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from what are called entirely ‘worldly elements’ and urges the community to focus on oneself, how to make one a better human being, how to feel empathy for those who are less fortunate and help them in the best ways we can. For a more organized flow of things, there are certain components in a day as such with which people have to stick with.
- Suhoor (or Seheri in some cultures):
Muslims observe a pre-dawn meal every day in the month of Ramadan, which will help them sustain the whole day of fasting. That very meal is called Suhoor. Food items that keep one hydrated and energized throughout the day are consumed, and after waiting for some time at dawn, everyone begins the first prayer of the day, Fajr. For yesterday, the time for Suhoor in the States was 5:12 AM.
Iftar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their fast. Traditionally, people start with eating dates so as to follow Prophet Mohammed’s way of breaking the fast with three dates. Light eatables like fruits are consumed, and then people quickly disperse for the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib. Heavy meal follows the Maghrib prayer, and people are advised to take rest till the time of the fifth prayer, Isha. For today, the time for iftar in the States is 8:13 PM.
Tarawih is a set of extra prayers that are highly recommended for the month of Ramadan. They are incorporated in the last prayer of the day, Isha, and said to be highly rewarded. However, contrary to popular belief, this prayer is not compulsory and can be dropped due for any legit reason.
Ramadan and Eid are occasions of celebrating community and togetherness, not just for Muslims but for people from all and every faith. Anyone with any faith can come and sit at the same table and be thankful for whichever greater power they believe in, and this sense of togetherness is much more pivotal in these times when the difference between faith and belief is being used by certain groups of people for their personal gains and what suffers are the ties between communities which make us one. So let’s take this opportunity to build upon every last drop of acceptance and brotherhood in our hearts and fill up the rifts that have been created over time by people who have nothing to do with peace and oneness.