Observed in Countries with Muslim populations
Observed on First of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar
Observed by Muslims

Introduction
Eid al-Fitr is an Islamic holiday that takes place at the end of the holy, but austere, month of Ramadan. This is the month when people of the Islamic faith fast and abstain from drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk, eating only before sunrise and at night. Fasting is the fourth “pillar,” or religious duty, of Muslims.
Ramadan is also a time of intense worship, of reading the Koran, of purifying oneself, of giving donations, and of performing honorable deeds.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr is celebrated on the first of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.
Al-Fitr means “breaking the fast.” It is one of the two major Eid festivals of the Islamic year (Eid al-Adha is the other). It is also called the Little or Small Bayram (bayram means “feast”). Shawwal, like every month in the Islamic lunar calendar, starts with the official sighting of the new Moon by astronomers in Saudi Arabia, but most people rely on reports of the official date. Because the new Moon is seen at different times in different parts of the world, there are regional differences regarding the precise date on which the festival begins.
Depending on where they live, some Muslims may have fasted for 29 days, while others fasted for 30.
Eid al-Fitr, a day of celebration and thanksgiving, begins as soon as the new Moon has been sighted. Muslims, on this day, demonstrate their joy for their physical well-being, strength, and life’s opportunities, which have been given to them by Allah. On this day, apart from celebrating the end of their fast, Muslims thank Allah for the strength he gave them to practice self-discipline during the austere month of Ramadan. Eid is also a time for making amends and forgiveness, a day to overlook old bitterness and forgive others.
On the morning of Eid al-Fitr, men generally begin their day at the mosque, participating in a special Eid prayer. As the priest says “Allah is Great,” they kneel on their prayer mats, lift their hands, and touch their heads against the ground. Subsequently, they greet everyone with an “Eid Mubarak” (“happiness to everyone”).
After the men return from the mosque, families get together for their first daytime meal in a month. The feast includes goat, lamb, spicy vegetables, and sewia, a special dish of thin noodles prepared with coconut, milk, and sugar. There is also candy made from ground nuts, grated cheese, honey, and sesame seeds.
This Muslim holiday is one of celebration and family get-togethers. Muslims are expected to wear their best clothes, and children get new clothes as presents. Girls sport bangles and apply henna to make red designs on their hands. There are special services in and around mosques, processions in streets, and a celebratory meal eaten during the daytime-the first in a month.

Origins and History
The first Eid is believed to have been celebrated in 624 by Muhammad with his relatives and friends following their triumph in the battle of Jang-eBadar, when they defeated a much larger army of Arabs. Thus, Eid began as an appropriate reward for hardship and discipline but developed into a social occasion. Feasts, prayers, and family gatherings are the highlights of the festival. Greetings of “Eid-Mubarak” are exchanged on this day.