Eid is one of the most widely celebrated religious festivals world-wide. About 1.57 billion Muslims world-wide celebrate Eid every-year . There are two Eids every-year, one of them follows Ramadan, the month of fasting, and the other one follows the season of pilgrimage (Hajj in Arabic).
For the last 29 days , Muslims world-wide had been observing ritual fasting from astronomical twilight to sunset. About 2.7 million Muslims living in the UK observed Ramadan too, which roughly estimated to 18-19 hours of fasting every day . Though it seems like a tremendous feat, Muslims enjoy the month of Ramadan for its spiritual, congregational, physiological, philosophical and communal value. Ramadan is a workshop that promotes empathy, self-control, sacrifice and patience. It offers philosophical insight into one’s self and marks a Kantian journey from heteronomy to autonomy . I’ve been breaking my fasts (Iftaar in Arabic) in the Newbury Mosque, where the mosque committee and local Muslims get together and share this important meal. As I’m relatively new to Newbury, these blessed Iftaar meals helped me bond with the local Muslim community and I made new friends every day. In my last few months in Newbury I’ve met Muslims from Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Palestine, India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Scotland, Libya, Malaysia, Iran and white British converts.
It’s time to bid farewell to Ramadan, and the new crescent moon will mark first day of 10th month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar i.e. the day of Eid al-Fitr (the Feast of breaking of Feast). This year, Eid is on 28th July. On Eid day, Muslims begin their day by eating something sweet (in Saudi Arabia dates are common as Eid day breakfast, and in Pakistan it’s vermicelli). Then people would put on new clothes and head to mosque or an open ground for an Eid day congregational prayer which comprises a sermon and prayers of guidance and prosperity (similar in essence to the Christmas day service). Then people would embrace each other and congratulate them on finishing the holy month of Ramadan and exchange Eid greetings. In Newbury, last Eid prayer was held in a hall in Northcroft Leisure centre, and this year three congregations will be held in the Newbury Mosque in order to accommodate all Muslims.
On Eid day, Muslims who are able are required to give money or food in charity to the poor and the needy. Thepurpose of this charity is to ensure that poor people can participate in Eid celebrations as well and also to promote better community spirit. The rest of the Eid day is about Eid gatherings and shared meals. Friends and families will gather in halls, restaurant, homes and share meals. Muslims in all part of the world prepare traditional Eid day meals, which are a must have on the Eid feast menu.
Here are some pictures from Eid celebrations world-wide:
A young indonesian girl enjoys ice cream as women around her are busy in Eid prayers. (Source BBC, 2013)
Russian Muslims gathered for Eid Prayer in St Petersburg (Source BBC,2013)
Bosnian Muslims exchanging Eid Greetings (Source BBC,2013)
Mohammad Awais Tahir
Living in Newbury since September 2013
Member of West Berkshire Peace and Integration Forum and Vodafone Muslim Society
Author of exploringpsyche.com