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Eid al-Fitr: Muslims around world celebrate end of Ramadan fast

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of the holy month of fasting

This weekend, Muslims all over the globe begin celebrations for Eid al-Fitr, to mark the end of Ramadan.

The name translates as “the festival of breaking the fast” as during the month of Ramadan, Muslims perform one of the five pillars of Islam: the fast.

Food, water and sexual activity are all banned until after sunset.

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Egyptian Muslim men and women are separated from each other as they gather for a prayer in the village of Dalgamon, Tanta, some 120 kilometres north of Cairo, Egypt (EPA / Khaled Elfiqi)

Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is believed that the Quran’s first verse was revealed during the last 10 nights of this month.

The exact date of Eid depends on the lunar cycle, and it is traditionally celebrated for three days – although from country to country, the festival can last anywhere from one to four days.

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Muslims offer prayers outside the Grande Mosquee de Paris (Great Mosque of Paris) (AFP / Zakaria Abdelkafi)

Muslims in the UK generally celebrate Eid for a single day.

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Saudis and foreigners perform prayer at the al-Masmak grand mosque of Prince Turki bin Abdulla palace in Riyadh (EPA / STR)

It’s not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, the “sacrifice feast” – so-called to honour Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael – which takes place two months later and coincides with the annual Mecca pilgrimage.

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Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (3rd R) attends prayers on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, inside a mosque in Hama (SANA Handout via Reuters)

To commemorate Eid, prayers are offered in the morning at the mosque, with readings from the Quran.

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Pakistani residents offer Eid al-Fitr prayers on the outskirts of Peshawar (AFP/Getty Images)

Celebrations then take place with friends and family, as well as among the whole community.

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Bangladeshi Muslims travel home for celebrations on a crowded ferry in Dhaka (Rex Features / Sony Ramany)

Children often receive new clothes and their first pocket money, and parents exchange gifts and pastries.

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Afghan children ride swings during celebrations in Herat (EPA / Jalil Rezayee)

 

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In Albanian capital Tirana, prayers take place on recently renovated Skanderbeg Square (AP / Hektor Pustina)

 

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Egyptians try to catch balloons released after prayers, in a public park outside Cairo’s El-Seddik Mosque (Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

This year marks the first time since 1996 that the White House will not host a celebratory iftar dinner to commemorate Eid.

First held in the White House in 1805, Hillary Clinton made the ritual an annual tradition in 1996 after learning more about it from her daughter Chelsea.

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An Afghan woman and her son beg at a Kabul mosque on the first day of Eid (Reuters / Omar Sobhani)

The White House issued a statement on Saturday evening: “Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity. Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbours and breaking bread with people from all walks of life. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honour these values.”

The statement ends with the traditional greeting: Eid Mubarak (blessed Eid).


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September 2021
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