Eid Mubarak to you!
'Festival of breaking the fast', Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramzan. During this period, Muslims observe a month-long fast, called Ramadan, starting from dawn till dusk.
As someone born in a Hindu family, I never knew anything much about Eid. Like why is it celebrated? How is it celebrated? But now after taking steps in the real world, and making new friends from all walks of life, I have learned about numerous festivals that are marked all around the globe. And, one of them is Eid al-Fitr, one of the Islamic festivals that is being celebrated all over the country with utmost zeal and happiness.
With the literal meaning 'festival of breaking the fast', Eid al-Fitr is observed at the end of Ramzan. During this period, Muslims observe a month-long fast, called Ramzan, starting from dawn till dusk. Moreover, it is also commemorated to mark the beginning of the Islamic calendar month of Shawwal.
Talking about the celebration of Eid this year, the date of the Hijri lunar month of Eid varies by place. In India, it was observed on 13th May, after the sighting of the crescent moon which is one night after the new moon.
Furthermore, although there are other special days throughout the year, including the beginning of the Islamic New Year and the day the Prophet Muhammad was born, the two Eids are the only holidays that are celebrated by the entire Muslim community worldwide. Eid al-Fitr signifies the close of the Ramzan fast, whereas Eid al-Adha (“Festival of Sacrifice”) represents the completion of the annual pilgrimage season.
Eid al-Fitr celebrations usually last three days, one day less than Eid al-Adha celebrations. As a result, Eid al-Fitr is very often referred to as "Lesser" or "Smaller Eid." Eid al-Adha, also known as “Greater Eid,” is regarded as the more significant of the two holidays.
Muslims participate in special morning prayers during Eid ul-Fitr, greet each other with formal hugs, and exchange greetings of "Eid Mubarak," or "Have a blessed Eid." They gather with family and friends, give games, gifts and Eidi (pocket money) to children and prepare and eat special meals, including traditional delicacies like Sevaiyyan and Sheer Korma and various sweet dishes. In India besides these, Biryani, Kebabs, Qormas, etc are also prepared for friends and family to celebrate the festival.
For years, I've been watching my Muslim friends and their families celebrating Eid in the same way that I celebrate Holi and Diwali. People are now reading namaz at home and are afraid of eating at each other's homes due to the pandemic. The environment in which people used to comfortably gather to celebrate their auspicious day with close family and friends are now fraught with fear of the disease and the lockdown.
Till date, the government never interfered with religious festival celebrations. But seeing what is happening in my country, various questions arise in my mind. What's going on in my India? On one side, people are flocking to the Kumbh, while on the other, only a limited number of people are allowed to read the namaz in the places of worship. What is the reason for this?
I would love to see the celebration of Eid the way it was once celebrated in secular India. Will we be able to do this? I want those days back when everybody came together, without fear and all smiles, to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr, without much fikar (concern).