Eid Mubarak! How Much Do You Really Know About the Festival?

How much do you know about the festival of Eid?

Updated18 Sep 2017, 08:51 AM IST
Explainers
3 min read
Snapshot

We all know that Eid is one of the most important festivals for Muslims and is celebrated worldwide. We also know how our Muslim friends fast for a month during the holy month of Ramzan, and how we wait for sumptuous iftar.

But how much do we know about the festival itself?

As Indians across the country celebrate Eid today, The Quint explains all you need to know about the festival.

Why Do Muslims Fast During Ramzan?

Ramzan is the ninth month of the lunar calendar. It is considered to be the holiest month as the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad for the first time during the month.

Muslims offering Namaz during the month of Ramzan.
Muslims offering Namaz during the month of Ramzan.
(Photo: AP)
Muslims all over the world observe Ramzan as the month of fasting to commemorate the revelation of the Quran. They also believe that fasting brings the faithful closer to God, and is seen as a way to detoxify “physically and mentally”.

It is the time to practice self-restraint, the time to focus on prayers. Muslims eat what is commonly referred to as suhoor – a pre-dawn meal to start their fast. The fast ends with a sunset prayer and a sip of water, followed by iftar, a sumptuous meal.

Fasting – or sawm – is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with faith, prayer, charity and pilgrimage to Mecca. The month begins with the sighting of the crescent moon.

When Is Eid Celebrated?

Muslims in Delhi’s Jama Masjid distributing sweets.
Muslims in Delhi’s Jama Masjid distributing sweets.
(Photo: AP)

Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramzan. The month lasts about 29-30 days depending on lunar movements. Eid ul-Fitr essentially means the festival of “breaking the fast", thus marking the end of Ramzan.

The festival begins with the sighting of the new moon, and therefore Muslims generally wait until the eve of Eid, also the last day of fasting, to confirm the date of the festival.

Therefore, depending on the sighting and the geographical location, Eid is celebrated on different days in different countries.

What Next? Eid Mubarak!

Traditionally, Eid starts with everyone in the family going for Eid namaz called the Qutbah.

 People hugging on the festive day of Eid. (Photo: iStock)
People hugging on the festive day of Eid. (Photo: iStock)

It consists of two units and is offered in an open field or a large hall and should be performed only in congregation.

It is said that they pay the zakat and fitra before offering their prayers. Fitra is a colloquial term for ‘charity’ and zakat is an “Islamic obligatory alms tax” distributed in the form of food and new clothes.

Elders in the family also give Eidi, or gifts, to younger family members and friends.

What Constitutes the Eid Meal?

Sevai is one of the most popular dishes made on Eid ul-Fitr. It is a vermicelli pudding, sometimes prepared with milk and dates for the occasion.

<i>Sevai</i> is one of the most popular dishes made on Eid ul-Fitr. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/<b>The Quint</b>)
Sevai is one of the most popular dishes made on Eid ul-Fitr. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)

Eid ul-Fitr is popularly also called “Sweet Eid” because a number of sweet dishes are prepared during the occasion.

Haleem, a form of stew with wheat, barley, meat lentils and spice, cooked slowly over seven to eight hours, is also made in most households. Among other delicacies, an Eid meal is incomplete without biryani and kebabs.

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Published: 24 Jun 2017, 01:31 PM IST

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