What makes Eid al-Fitr so special?
‘Eid’ (pronounced eed) is a little bit like Christmas for Muslims. It is an Arabic word which means ‘festival’ or ‘feast’. Eid al-Fitr is the ‘Breaking of the fast’ festival. It is the day which marks the end of the month of Ramadan.
How is Eid celebrated?
Eid is usually celebrated over a number of days. It begins with special morning prayers in very large groups. After prayers, people greet each other with “Eid Mubarak” which means “Blessed Eid”. There are more than 1,800,000,000 Muslims around the world! So the way Eid is celebrated can vary depending where you live.
It is generally celebrated by spending the day with family and friends, enjoying home cooked meals and desserts, exchanging gifts, and giving money to little children (and if they are lucky, adults too!). Charity also forms a key part of Eid, all Muslims are required to give money to those less fortunate so that they can celebrate too.
For Laaiqah and her family (pictured) explained that Eid is a special day because...
"...just like Christmas, it's a day celebrated by more than a billion people around the world. It's such a happy day.
When asked what she enjoyed most about Eid, Laaiqah explained that her and her husband Fahim...
"...love how much our kids love the day. The excitement in the lead up to Eid and on the day itself is the most enjoyable aspect. There's tonnes of delicious food too and we get to catch up with many of our friends and family."
We asked Arshee and Sara, part of our recent shoot, why Eid al-Fitr was so important to them...
"If you were to come ask Sara and I why is Eid important to us, we wouldn’t be able to give you just one reason.
As children, we remember the chaos the night before Eid brings, when everyone was running around trying to find the perfect final touches to their outfits, be it the matching shoes or jewellery. The mothers would be ironing clothes for their children. We all had that Aunty who was going from house to house applying henna so intricately with care, girls hoping that it wouldn’t get smeared everywhere. Everyone would be talking about the food they were going to eat and we would all regret sleeping so late.
After a month of fasting we tend to appreciate everything more. It makes you realise how lucky we are to have food and drinks so readily available on the table whenever we desire. This is probably why so many Muslims partake in charity during this month. You feel for those who may have to fast all year round due to their financial situation.
I love that the first thing you do when you wake up on Eid isn’t to browse through your phone or update your instagram. Instead, you wake up and wish your family members “Eid Mubarak”, giving them a hug when doing so. You wake up to the smell of freshly cooked sweets, that your mother spent all night making. You wake up to phone calls from your extended family members from all over the world. It’s your chance to speak to that cousin you haven’t spoken to for over six months. Family, no matter how far they are in the globe, feels a lot closer on Eid. This, I have to admit, has to be my favourite part about Eid.
I love that on Eid I get to wear my finest outfit that - not that any of us girls like to admit - we were mulling over for the whole month of Ramadan. Each and every item, picked carefully to match the perfect occasion for celebration. It is common practice for Muslims to buy new clothes for Eid, as it is a sunnah, of the Prophet to wear something new during the holy feast. Going to the shops during the last two days of Ramadan is a lot like going Christmas shopping a day before Christmas Eve. Everyone’s rushing from one store to the other trying to find their perfect fit. I’ve always loved packed shopping centres - the looks on the people’s faces as they pass by. The father who looks delighted he’s found the perfect gift for his daughter; the teenaged female who’s realised she’s purchased the same colour dress as her best friend. Shopping with a crowd gave me the ultimate Eid spirit, which is all about collectiveness and doing things in groups. We’ve fasted and prayed all month in Ramadan, a new outfit for Eid feels like a fresh beginning.”