After a month of fasting, prayer and self-reflection, Eid al-Fitr is a time of celebration when Muslims across the globe gather together to feast and reconnect with loved ones. Eid al-Fitr translates to “the festival of breaking the fast,” and it’s a time for Muslims to reward themselves with things they gave up during Ramadan, Muslim Aid explains.
That holy month commemorates the month in which the prophet Muhammad first received the Qu’ran. During Ramadan, observant Muslims refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours, instead spending that time exercising self-control and restraint and deepening one’s relationship with Allah.
When is Eid al-Fitr in 2023?
The exact timing depends on the sighting of the moon, but in 2023, Eid al-Fitr is expected to take place on April 21-April 22. That day also marks the first day of the Islamic month Shawwal.
How we know when Eid al-Fitr will be:
Much like other religious holidays that shift according to moon cycles, so does Eid al-Fitr. Muslim holidays follow a lunar calendar known as the Hijri or Islamic calendar, which calculates the amount of time the moon takes to cycle through each of its phases. There are 12 months per lunar year, but only about 354 days — approximately 11 days less than a solar year. Every Hijri month lasts either 29 or 30 days long and there are no leap years. Following the Islam calendar, a new month starts when the crescent moon can be sighted in the evening sky after the conclusion of the new moon phase.
That’s why there can be a few days’ variation in when Eid is celebrated. The festivities typically last up to three days in Islamic countries, although in the U.S., some celebrants pack the fun into just one or two, depending on which days the holiday falls on. Unlike countries where Islam is the majority religion, Eid is not a federal holiday in the U.S., despite more than 1% of the population identifying as Muslim.
How to celebrate Eid al-Fitr:
Because Ramadan is a month of fasting and reflection, Eid al-Fitr is a chance to indulge in some delicious feasts and celebrate with family and loved ones. The day usually starts with a special prayer service at the mosque, known as salat al-eid, followed by a sermon delivered by the imam. Many Muslims attend with their families and children, dressed up for the occasion. In order to ensure that all Muslims can participate in Eid al-Fitr regardless of their financial circumstances, Muslims pay a tithe called zakat al-fitr. Some also volunteer at food pantries or do other acts of charity in the spirit of Eid. The rest of the day is characterized by carnivals, bazaars and general festivities.
How to wish someone a good Eid al-Fitr:
When Ramadan ends, you can say “Eid Mubarak” to all of those who celebrate, which means “Blessed feast/festival” in Arabic.