Continuing my mission to inform and explain what christmas is to other people, I have decided that today I will talk about how Muslims celebrate Eid. While it isn’t held in December, but it is of significant importance, so that is why I am including it in Cultural christmas.
I contacted my friend Faisal Koukash, and asked him how he celebrated the festive period, and here is what he said:
‘We have a festival called Eid, the first one happens the day after Ramadan finishes, whilst the second happens on the 10th day of Dhul UL Hijjah, on the Islamic Calender. The first Eid marks the end of Ramadan, whilst the second is the commemoration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God’
According to Wikipedia, Eid al-Fitr was originated by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is observed on the first of the month of Shawwal at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims undergo a period of fasting.
As the first Eid is the day after Ramadan, it is celebrated with no fasting, and a Eid prayer at an open field or Mosque (before that, many muslims donate money to charity or the needy). Eid al-Fitr is meant to show the rejuvenation of one’s religious beliefs, and helps create a stronger bond with God.
Eid al-Adha relates to when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son for god, as Faisal previously stated. On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.
The symbolism is in the attitude – a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.
I hope that this taught you a bit about both days of Eid, it sure taught me a lot while doing my research. Next time on Cultural Christmas 2013, we will be learning about Kwanzaa!