- Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated with prayers, feasting, and visiting family and friends.
- The sighting of the new moon, which can vary between countries, determines the date of Eid.
- Traditional customs include exchanging gifts, preparing special sweets, and offering prayers to express gratitude and unity.
As Ramadan concludes, Muslims worldwide prepare for Eid al-Fitr, the “festival of breaking the fast.” The new moon sighting in Saudi Arabia marks the start of Eid celebrations on April 21st. This article explores the essentials of Eid al-Fitr 2023, from its date to customs and practices.
When is Eid al-Fitr 2023?
Eid al-Fitr 2023 is celebrated on Friday, April 21, in Saudi Arabia. However, the exact date may vary in other countries, as they follow independent moon sightings to determine the beginning of the festivities.
How is Eid date determined?
The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, with lunar months lasting between 29 and 30 days. Muslims typically wait until the night before Eid to verify its date.
If the new moon is visible, then the next day will be Eid; if not, Muslims will fast one more day to complete a 30-day month. Once the sighting is verified, Eid is declared on television, radio stations, and at mosques.
Eid celebrations around the world
Eid is celebrated for three days as an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries. However, the number of holiday days varies by country. Muslims partake in various customs and traditions during this time, such as prayers, feasting, and visiting relatives.
Eid prayers and traditions
Muslims begin Eid day celebrations by attending a prayer service that takes place shortly after dawn, followed by a short sermon. On their way to the prayer, which is traditionally held in an open area, Muslims recite takbeerat, praising God by saying “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is great”.
It is customary to eat something sweet before the prayer, such as date-filled biscuits known as maamoul.
Traditional Eid sweets and desserts
Across the Middle East, making date-filled semolina cookies called maamoul is a tradition during Eid. These can also be filled with nuts and dusted with icing sugar.
Sheer Khurma or Siviyaan
The Eid speciality in households across India and Pakistan is sheer khurma or siviyaan. The vermicelli and milk pudding are often decorated with nuts or raisins.
Baklava, a layered pastry, is prepared for Eid in Turkey and across the region. Layers of thin filo pastry are stuffed with pistachio and other nuts soaked in orange blossom syrup. The traditional sweet can also be made with a variety of different fillings.
Amala with Ewedu
In Nigeria, making amala with ewedu is a celebratory dish served on special occasions like Eid. Ewedu is a traditional plant-based soup served with yam flour or cassava and paired with a meat stew.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, tufahija – poached stuffed apples in simple syrup, sometimes stuffed with walnuts – is a traditional dessert that is served on Eid-al-Fitr.
In Morocco, a savory pie made with chicken or pigeon, known as bastilla, is often prepared for Eid. The meat is marinated for a day or two, wrapped in thin layers, and then baked or deep-fried.
Eid customs and practices
Visiting relatives and neighbors
Muslims usually spend the day visiting relatives and neighbors and accepting sweets as they move around from house to house.
Gifts for children
Children, dressed in new clothes, are offered gifts and money to celebrate the joyous occasion.
In some countries, families visit graveyards to offer their respects to departed family members.
Eid decorations and festivities
It is common for Muslim-majority countries to decorate their cities with lights and hold festivities to commemorate the end of the fasting month.
Eid greetings and languages
The most popular greeting is “Eid Mubarak” (Blessed Eid) or “Eid sa’id” (Happy Eid). Eid greetings also vary depending on the country and language.
Eid al-Fitr is a time of joy and celebration for Muslims around the world. As the fasting month of Ramadan ends, families come together to share special meals, exchange gifts, and partake in various customs and traditions. From prayers and feasting to visiting relatives and sharing sweets, the spirit of Eid is one of unity, gratitude, and love.
- What is the significance of Eid al-Fitr? Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and is a time for Muslims to come together in gratitude and celebration.
- How is the date of Eid al-Fitr determined? The date of Eid al-Fitr is determined by the sighting of the new moon, which signifies the end of the lunar month of Ramadan.
- What are some traditional Eid sweets and desserts? Traditional Eid sweets and desserts include maamoul, sheer khurma or siviyaan, baklava, amala with ewedu, tufahija, and bastilla.
- What do Muslims do on Eid al-Fitr? Muslims pray, visit relatives and neighbors, exchange gifts, and indulge in festive meals during Eid al-Fitr.
- How do Muslims greet each other on Eid? Muslims typically greet each other with “Eid Mubarak” (Blessed Eid) or “Eid sa’id” (Happy Eid), although greetings can vary depending on the country and language.
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