Happy Eid Al Fitr 2024

When is Eid al-Fitr 2024 and how is it celebrated? The three-day festival celebrates the completion of the fasting month of Ramadan by Muslims across the world.

As the fasting month of Ramadan comes to an end, Muslims around the world are preparing for Eid al-Fitr, the “festival of breaking the fast”.

According to astronomical calculations, the month of Ramadan is expected to last 30 days this year, making the first day of Eid in Saudi Arabia and many neighbouring countries likely to be on Wednesday, April 10.

The first day of Eid al-Fitr is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon marking the start of the month of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar. Lunar months last between 29 and 30 days so Muslims usually have to wait until the night before Eid to verify its date.

After sunset prayers on Monday, April 8, the 29th day of Ramadan, moon sighters will face west with a clear view of the horizon for a first glimpse of the crescent moon.

If the new moon is visible, then the next day will be Eid, if not, Muslims will then fast one more day to complete a 30-day month. Other countries follow independent sightings. When the sighting has been verified, Eid is declared on television, radio stations and at mosques.

How do Muslims celebrate Eid?

Traditionally, Eid is celebrated for three days as an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries. However, the number of holiday days varies by country. Muslims begin Eid day celebrations by partaking in a prayer service that takes place shortly after dawn, followed by a short sermon.

On their way to the prayer, which is traditionally held in an open area, Muslims recite takbeerat, praising God by saying “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is great”. It is customary to eat something sweet before the prayer, such as date-filled biscuits known as maamoul in the Middle East. This particular festival is known as the “sweet” Eid – and the distribution of sweets is common across the Muslim world.

Muslims usually spend the day visiting relatives and neighbours and accepting sweets as they move around from house to house.

Each country has traditional desserts and sweets that are prepared before Eid or on the morning of the first day. Children, dressed in new clothes, are offered gifts and money to celebrate the joyous occasion.

Girls and women in many countries decorate their hands with henna. The celebration for Eid begins the night before as women gather in neighbourhoods and large family gatherings for the application of henna.

In some countries, families visit graveyards to offer their respects to departed family members right after the morning prayers. It is common for Muslim-majority countries to decorate their cities with lights and hold festivities to commemorate the end of the fasting month.

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