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Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslim people the whole world over, marking the end of fasting in the month of Ramadan. It is the earlier of the two official Islamic holidays, the second being Eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Fitr celebrations vary throughout the world, often with special prayers and sermons followed by celebrations and feasting. In many Muslim countries Eid celebrations last several days and are marked with a public holiday.
In Aotearoa New Zealand Eid al-Fitr is typically celebrated with morning prayers at the mosque followed with time spent visiting and feasting with family and friends. Public festivities in larger venues take place in the main centres.
Eid al-Fitr was established by Prophet Muhammad and is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal to mark the conclusion of Ramadan. Some believe that the festivals of Eid al-Fitr dates back to the Medina after the Hegira, which was the departure from Mecca in 622 AD. It is believed that in Medina, the Prophet Muhammed came across people engaged in recreational activities. It was then that he recommended Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha be observed as the two better days for festivities and recreation.
Traditionally, Eid al-Fitr involves a variety of rituals and traditions among the Muslim community in commemoration of the end of Ramadan and Allah's blessings during the fasting period. Some of these traditions are:
-Muslims are not permitted to fast on the day of Eid, and compulsory acts of charity are usually performed and later followed by Eid prayers. On the way to Eid prayers, Muslims recite the takbir, praising Allah, amongst other prayers.
- Eid prayers (Salat al-Fitr) are usually performed in open-air enclosures such fields, mosques or community centres which are referred to as Eidgah. There is no call to prayer, and it only comprises of two units (rakats) of prayer with an additional of six takbirs (Arabic phrase Allahu Ahbar, which translates: 'God is great'). After the prayers, a sermon is given, which is then followed by a petition seeking Allah's forgiveness, peace, mercy, and blessings. The sermon focuses on instructing Muslims about the performance of Eid rituals, such as Zakat, which is a form of obligatory almsgiving in Islam.
Eid al Fitr begins at sunset on the night of the first sighting of the crescent moon, on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic lunar calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Eid al-Fitr falls approximately 11 days earlier each successive year. In 2023 Eid al-Fitr is predicted to fall around the 21st of April.