Bristol thanks Muhammad Hasan (CRP), Bristol Global Expense Analyst - Client Financial Services, for sharing the following observations and personal perspectives on the significance of Ramadan and its joyous conclusion, Eid-Ul-Fitr.
As the Muslim calendar follows the lunar cycle, Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon, and the end of Ramadan is signaled when the next new moon is sighted. This year the new moon is expected to be on 5/11 or 5/12 so the Eid-Ul-Fitr could be on 5/12 (Wednesday) or 5/13 (Thursday). Many families gather outside together to gaze at the sky after dusk to see if they can sight the new moon. Nowadays through technology of course it is possible to predict when the new moon will be visible (12 May) so many mosques have already stated Eid-Ul-Fitr will be marked on Thursday, May 13.
Eid-ul-Fitr means “The feast of breaking the fast.” The fast, in this instance, is that of Ramadan, the holy month observed by Muslims, which recalls the revealing of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Eid-Ul-Fitr is a festival that is marked by joyous celebration by all practicing Muslims and is similar to Christmas, Diwali or Hanukkah holidays with family and friends getting together to celebrate, eat special foods and exchange gifts. It is often known by the abbreviated name, ‘Eid (pronounced Eed) and is a 1- 3 day celebration in most Muslim countries.
Each country is different in their traditions as to how they celebrate the holiday. I grew up in Pakistan and traditionally Eid preparations would begin with shopping the night before known as 'Chaand Raat' (the night of the moon, similar to Christmas Eve). People take their children to shops to buy new clothes, girls and women will have henna applied on their hands, homes will be decorated with lights and special food will be prepared for the next day.
Charity plays a large role in Islam and while Muslims are to give in charity throughout the year, it is especially encouraged during the month of Ramadan. Prior to the end of Ramadan, it is mandatory for all Muslims to pay Zakat-Ul-Fitr. This is a charity that is given to the poor so they can celebrate Eid too. It is encouraged to pay this to the local mosque so the funds can be distributed timely to the needy local community so they too can purchase what they need and celebrate the joyous occasion.
The day's festivities begin in the morning with a special ‘Eid Prayer in congregation followed by a sermon. After Eid prayers it is tradition for people to hug and wish each other "‘Eid Mubarak" (we wish you a blessed ‘Eid). This year like last year it will be a little different, with social distancing and wearing of masks to prevent the spread of Covid 19. However, people will still get together and safely celebrate the joyous occasion!
Muhammad, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and knowledge on this global holiday of such importance. We wish you, your family and all who celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr: Eid Mubarak! May this Eid bring peace, prosperity, health, happiness and endless blessings to all!