Eid al-Fitr also known as Meethi Eid is a major Muslim festival and is celebrated across the world on the first day of Shawwal, in the tenth month of the Islamic calendar (Hijri). Eid-al-Fitr also marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It is the festival of breaking the fast of Ramdan.
Sighting of the crescent moon is beginning of first day of this month and the sighting of the moon on the last day of Ramadan confirms the observance of Eid al-Fitr for the next day. Muslims observe strict fast called 'Rozah' from sunrise to sunset each day during Ramadan. They practice absolute abstinence during the month of Ramadan and dedicate most of their time in the devotion of Allah and his teachings. During this period they are abstain from all kind of worldly pleasure. After a month long discipline and restraint, they celebrate the day of Eid al-Fitr, that begin with the early morning bath followed by the first prayer of the day called Salat al-Fazr also called Morning Prayer. Then the whole family wear new clothes and jewellery and eats something sweet, traditionally dates. As Eid prayers must be performed in congregation, the male person of the house go to the Eid prayer venue, Eidgah, where the whole community perform Eid prayers together. The females can either stay at home to offer their prayers or can join the congregation.
Eid greetings are exchanged as 'Eid-Mubarak' and embrace each other signifying love and mutual brotherhood after the prayer. Women adorn their hands with Henna for the occasion. A sum of money called Eidi is given to children as part of Eid gift.
It is also called Meethi Eid in India and other South Asian countries as mainly sweet dishes are prepared for on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr. Seviyan which is made by boiling wheat noodles with milk and is served hot or cold garnished with dried fruits is the main delicacy of Eid al-Fitr. Kheer, Phirni, Halwa, Gulab Jamun, Malai Kulfi, and Ras-Malai are some of the other dishes prepared on this occasion.
The Eid festivities can continue up to three days. Charity is one important aspect of Eid in Islam. On this day muslims are encouraged to make some donations either in form of money or food and clothes. Zakat al-Fitr is an obligatory form of charity given to poor and traditionally it is given at the end of Ramadan and before people go for Eid prayers. On this occasion, they give a portion of their annual savings as the tax to poor or needy. In some countries Zakat is voluntary, while in other countries it is mandatory and is collected by the state. The festivities of Eid al-Fitr began in the holy city of Medina after the migration of Mohammad Prophet from Mecca.
Eid al-Fitr has a particular salat or Islamic prayer consisting of two rakats or units. It is generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation and has an additional extra six Takbirs that is raising of the hands to the ears while saying "Allahu Akbar" which means "God is the greatest".