Eid al-Fitr, also known as the Feast of Fast-Breaking or the Lesser Feast, is one of Islam’s major festivals marking the end of Ramadan after the sighting of a new moon. The month in which Shawwal begins varies for each Muslim community due to their location with respect to the lunar cycle. Unlike other Islamic holidays that are tied to a certain historical event, Eid al-Fitr is a celebration of fellowship and praise with one’s local community.
The holiday begins with Muslim families waking up early in the morning, enjoying a small breakfast, the first meal during the daytime to be consumed in a month. Afterward, the families will perform a salat (Islamic prayer) that consists of two rakats, in a mosque or an open field. Prayers of “Allāhu Akbar” (God is the greatest), along with the motion of raising their hands to the ears can be heard and seen at the start of the day. People dress up in their finest clothes to celebrate for Eid and decorate their homes with lights, candles, or lanterns all around. It is a time for new beginnings as any past wrongs are forgiven and the less fortunate are given food (sadagah al-fitr) or money. Friends and relatives are invited to share special food prepared along with gifts and greetings, while the children receive presents.
The celebration of Eid al-Fitr is similar in most countries; although, for Canada and their Muslim communities, large crowds gather in the cities to honor Eid al-Fitr. Festivals are held by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) with various international cuisines, shows, rides, and sports tournaments. Throughout the whole day, phrases such as “Eid Mubarak” (Blessed Eid) or “Eid Saeed” (Happy Eid) can be heard ringing from one ear to another. Community centers and amusement parks might be reserved for the entire day, where celebration by groups or public parties are held, reaching out to the non-Muslim community.
Gratitude and generosity is the wondrous message this holiday echoes into the minds and hearts of Muslims and others alike. Smiles are a common sight to behold as everyone comes together, whether it is to feast and share the delectable food such as Mamounia, Bint Alsahan or Bolani to name a few. Most of all, it is the celebration that give thanks to God in prayer with neighbours, friends, and family