Millions of Muslims are gearing up to mark Eid al-Fitr, so here"s your Eid 101!
What is Eid
The fasting month of Ramadan has come to an end. Muslims around the world will now be partaking in another Islamic tradition: The celebration of Eid al-Fitr.
The Eid al-Fitr festival is a feast of sorts. It's a grand celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, with the purpose of giving thanks to God for a month of spiritual rejuvenation and purification.
Eid comes from the root of “awd”, which gives a literal meaning of ‘return’ and ‘referral’. And according to Islamic terminology, it refers to reality and purity of our God.
Philosophy of Eid
Eid is a day of celebration marking the re-birth of a Muslim (in a matter of speaking) as a new being, free from sin and vice. Muslims have spent an entire month repenting over their sins and practicing self-control to stay away from all sorts of vice. Eid al-Fitr then marks the beginning of the new journey ahead to apply and build up on all that has been achieved this past month.
Due to this, every moment and day that passes in which a person has exercised self-restraint and avoided sin is to be celebrated as Eid.
Every day that passes without any sin is an Eid day! 
Islamic Eids and their importance
There are, in essence, two major Eids in Islam. One is Eid al-Fitr which is marked at the end of Ramadan; while the other is Eid al-Adha which is called the Feast of Sacrifice honoring the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to Gods command.
Both occasions are marked with fervor and festivities. It isn't just a time to thank God, but also one large social event. The entire Muslim world comes together as one in their rituals and happiness to celebrate. The Eids go a long way in fostering intra-faith ties within the Muslim world and highlights the significance of community.
There are two practices that mark Eid al-Fitr:
- Eid Prayers: People gather early in the morning in mosques and prayer grounds to offer the congregational Eid prayers. The congregational prayers are also marked with a sermon. The aim here is to gather Muslims within a community together so they may be able to congratulate one another, strengthen the community's bonds, and become acquainted with the problems and issues facing the members of our society.
- Zakat al-Fitr: It is charity that is given to the poor on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr. It is a way to provide a safety net of sorts for the least fortunate in society and to bring them a little bit of relief and happiness on this joyous occasion. All of Ramadan is spent enduring hunger and thirst so that we may understand the sufferings of the poor, so forgetting them on Eid will not make sense.
Eid celebrations are conducted in different styles according to different cultures and traditions. For example in most Asian countries Eid celebrations last for at least three days.
It starts with ritual bathing, wearing new clothes, attending Eid prayers, greeting each other, visiting relatives and friends, giving gifts to children, and lots and lots of sweets.
Food plays a huge part in the festivities with Muslims around the world cooking up and enjoying their ethnic delicacies. The sweetness and delight is brought about by the sheer joy of being together and celebrating together.
Eid celebrations teach other societies how to be united with each other, to help the needy, to respect and visit the elders and children, especially today where the relationships are limited to a phone call or chat.
Therefore let’s make this upcoming Eid, a golden opportunity to make people understand the real meaning of Islam; “Peace, Unity and Submission”.