When the holy month of Ramadan will pass, the festival of Eid Ul Fitr will bestow happiness on all the devout around the world. However, Eid Ul Fitr 2020 will see people celebrating it with a few changes, amid the Coronavirus crisis. Since Ramadan commenced on Friday, 24 April 2020, Eid is most likely to fall around on Sunday, 24 May this year. Eid Ul Fitr occurs after the last day of Ramadan, on the first day of the 10th month, Shawwal, as per the Islamic calendar.
Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, which means, that Eid Ul Fitr falls on a different date in the Gregorian calendar every year. As per tradition, following the lunar calendar, Eid is marked after the moon is spotted in the sky, which marks one whole complete cycle since it was last spotted 30 days ago, that marked the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
Moon-sighting committees around the world declare the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr. Generally, it begins when the new moon is sighted over Mecca. This is the reason why moon sighting is important to the festival, and as per Islamic traditions, it will finalize the Eid Ul Fitr date. As soon as the moon is sighted, in different parts of the world, Eid is announced, and people begin final preparations for the festivities
Eid Ul Fitr is a celebration, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. Also understood from its name ‘Fitr’ (breakfast), it is a celebration of ending a whole month of fasting. It is a time when all Muslims celebrate with family and rejoice in the happiness, and the blessings of God. The meaning of Eid Ul Fitr is “festival of ending the fast”, and is started with a special prayer on the morning of the first day of Shawwal. In Islam, it is believed that after Ramadan, people’s sins are forgiven.
People meet their family, friends, and loved ones on the festival, and greet them by saying ’Eid Mubarak’. This means ‘Happy Eid’ or ‘Blessed Eid’, and ’Kul Aam Wa Antum Bikhair’ (wishing you well-being every year). These are two Eid greetings that are a part of age-old customs, and you would hear them on this day, along with an exchange of hugs and smiles. If you have an acquaintance with an Emirati person, you can greet him with ’Asakum Min Awada’, meaning, ‘may you be around with us next Eid as well’.
It is also customary to wake up early morning, and get ready for going to the mosque and conduct the holy ritual of a special prayer for Eid Ul Fitr. This year, however, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Prayers will be held at home to prevent infections.
On the day of Eid, fasting is forbidden, and people generally tend to have a light breakfast, and then meet and greet their friends and family. Another very important tradition, which is imbibed in the hearts, is charity. Before the Eid prayers, ‘Zakat’ or charity must be performed. Many use this as an opportunity and donate a certain amount to their prefered charity, in a bid to help the poor and needy. Traditionally, food like barley, rice, dates and others are given instead of money.
People walk to offer the Eid prayers, and forgive and forget any arguments, or disagreements that they have had with anyone in the past year. They are also encouraged to settle disputes as it is the time of forgiveness. As Eid is a time of abundance after Ramadan, children are traditionally given gifts called ‘Eidi’, which can be in the form of money, accessories, toys, food and flowers.
Eid in UAE is still, to this day, celebrated with age old traditions and customs that are an integral part of their culture. First day of Eid Ul Fitr in UAE is all about spending time with family and relatives. After the morning prayers, families indulge in a feast during lunchtime, where all family members gather to enjoy traditional food and dishes. Traditionally popular Emirati breakfast dishes for Eid include Harees, a porridge made with meat and wheat, and Balaleet, a sweet vermicelli noodle dish with an omelette.
Ramadan and fasting is generally calm and strictly observed, and in slight contrast, the festival of Eid Ul Fitr is celebrated with joy and festivities. The festival holds supreme importance in the hearts and lives of each and every Muslim. It not only brings joy and happiness, but also teachings and lessons. We wish all our brothers and sisters ‘Ramadan Kareem’, and Eid Mubarak for the upcoming Eid Ul Fitr in 2020.