Eid ul Fitr, also known as Choti Id, is celebrated by different names in different Muslim nations. It is called Idul Fitri in Indonesia, Shemai Eid in Bangladesh, Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Lebaran in Malaysia and Ramazan Bayrami in Turkey. It marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. While, it is celebrated in varied ways in different countries, some rituals are common in the entire Muslim community across the world. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor everywhere in consonance with its sheer spirit and significance for the Muslims. The article gives an insight into the traditions and customs observed on this pious day.
On the morning of Eid, Muslims all over the world take bath and have their breakfast, typically comprising of dates and sweets. They wear new clothes on this occasion and visit the mosque (masjid) to worship Allah. Special Eid ul Fitr prayer ceremony is carried out in open areas, under the sky. All the Muslims recite Takbir, a poem in the praise of the greatness of Allah. It starts at the time of the sighting of crescent moon and lasts till the prayers are said. Muslims are supposed to pay Zakat al Fitr i.e. a donation for the month of Ramzan. This donation is given at a nearby mosque, to begin the Eid prayer.
Zakat al Fitr can be given in way of money or eatables like dates, wheat, barley, raisins etc. After the prayer, the Imam, or the spiritual head delivers a discourse on social and family duties, also known as Khutba (sermons). Everyone prays for forgiveness for their sins and for protection against misfortune, after which people embrace and greet each other with ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘Happy Eid’ and head back home for the feast! It is customary to embrace the person sitting on your either side, after the prayers are over. Near and dear ones are also embraced.
On Eid, women pray at home and then get busy organizing a lavish spread of eatables, like sivai - the special sweet for Eid (vermicelli cooked in milk and sugar), dry fruits, sweetmeats, biryani (meat cooked in spicy rice) and other things. They don new clothes and pay special heed to their make-up. The men return home to their beautiful wives and the family sits down for the grand meal. People embrace each other and exchange greetings of ‘Eid Mubarak’. Non-Muslims make it a point to visit their Muslim friends to join in their happiness and especially to consume some of the scrumptious food made for Eid ul Fitr.
Gifts are also exchanged on the festive occasion of Id. Daughters and married sisters are, especially, given gifts. In fact, brothers pay a visit to their married sisters and take sivai and other eatables, along with clothes, bangles and money. Children also receive money from elders, known as eiddi.. Celebrations extend to three days of merry-making and enjoyment. While in countries like India, Eid ul Fitr calls for a one day holiday all across the country, in some nations, Eid holidays span up to three days. Every country has its own way of celebrating Id, but most of the customs and traditions remain similar around the world.