The end of Ramadan brings the arrival of Eid. After a month of fasting from before sunrise to sunset, Eid is a celebration of all the hard work that Muslims put into fasting and into worship for an entire month.
The start of Eid coincides with the end of the Islamic month. Ramadan is actually the name of a month in the Islamic calendar, and Eid is at the start of the next month, Shaban. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the start and end of Ramadan can vary each year, as well as the start of Eid.
Every year there is a bit of a debate in the Muslim community about when Eid is. If you’ve ever wondered why some Muslims celebrate Eid on one day and others on another day, here’s a little explanation as to why.
There are some camps of Muslims that scour the skies starting on the twenty-ninth night of Ramadan for a glimpse of the new moon. And then there are other camps that declare Eid whenever it’s Eid in Saudi Arabia, the country where the holy site of Mecca is. And then there’s one camp that follows a set calendar so that Ramadan and Eid are already pre-planned and calculated.
Regardless which camp Muslims fall into, they’re all in agreement about one thing: Eid is a joyous day and one that’s meant to be celebrated wholeheartedly. Celebrations usually begin after the last iftar or fast-breaking meal. In many cultures, women gather together to put henna on their hands in excitement.
Ramadan is a month that focuses on the worship of God, and Eid day is no different. Families rise early to go for the special Eid prayer which is in the morning. Once they return from the masjid or place of worship, they greet one another by saying Eid Mubarak. There’s usually a special breakfast prepared, although let’s be honest, there’s a lot of food eaten on Eid day. Many dishes prepared on Eid are traditional to different regions, but there are also other dishes that families have made into traditions for themselves.
Besides eating themselves into a coma, Muslims spend the day visiting with family and friends and giving gifts. Kids are often given Eidi which are envelopes filled with cash and are often the subject of comparisons (“How much Eidi did you get?”).
Eid lasts for one day only, although many people continue celebrating throughout the week and on the weekend as well. With it marks the end of Ramadan, but the hope of using the skills learned during Ramadan, of being patient and God-conscious, is carried throughout the rest of the year.
Eid Mubarak to all those who are celebrating!
To learn more about Eid, check out Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices, and explore new books written by Muslim authors with our staff-curated Muslim Voices reading list.