Muslims across the world are observing the last few days of Ramadan and will mark the end of this holy month with grand celebrations on Eid ul-Fitr.
Celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid ul-Fitr 2015 is likely to fall on 17 July in most countries and the next day in some nations like India and Pakistan. These predictions are made based on the astronomical calculations, according to Gulf News.
Eid ul-Fitr will be confirmed only when the new moon is seen, and this varies from country to country. Muslims around the world are already preparing for the upcoming holiday, which is usually celebrated over a three-day stretch.
What is the significance of Eid ul-Fitr and how is it celebrated?
Eid ul-Fitr, commonly referred to as Eid, can be translated as the festival of fast-breaking that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. After a whole month of performing religious activities and seeking closeness to God, Muslims take the reward for their submission to God's will by celebrating Eid with family and friends.
On the day of Eid, Muslims wake up before sunrise and get into their best attire. Offering early morning prayers (Fajr) is mandatory and the prayer of Eid ul-Fitr, which is offered in open grounds, follows that. It is mandatory for Muslims to donate to the poor before heading to the prayer of Eid ul-Fitr. These donations are different from zakath and sadqa, which are given throughout Ramadan, and are called as sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking). This is to ensure the needy are able to celebrate Eid in favorable conditions.
The prayer of Eid consist a sermon followed by a congregational prayer. As fasting is not mandated on the day of Eid, Muslims eat light breakfast, mostly dates, before heading to the ground for prayers. It is sunnah to choose different paths for going and coming to the prayer grounds and one must preferably walk while reciting praises of Allah in an audible tone.
After completing the prayer of Eid, Muslims greet their friends and family. Buying gifts, sweets and chocolates for the children, family unions, decorating homes and preparing fancy dishes are common practices among Muslims on the day of Eid.
In most Muslim countries, Eid ul-Fitr holiday stretches to up to 3 days, where schools and government bodies remain non-functional, while most countries recognise this day as a national holiday. The Fiqh Council of North America announced that Eid ul-Fitr will be celebrated on 17 July in the US, same as in the United Kingdom, UAE and other countries. In India, Eid ul-Fitr is expected to fall on Saturday, 18 July, Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, chief Imam of the All India Imam Organisation told IBTimes India.