The word “Eid” literally translates to festival or feast in Arabic. Every year two Eid festivals are celebrated in the Islamic calendar.
The first is Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated earlier in the year. The second, Eid al-Adha, is celebrated later.
The purpose of each Eid is to commemorate a major event in Muslim history.
Eid al-Fitr is also known as lesser Eid or the Festival of Breaking The Fast. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan—a month in the Islamic calendar that is marked by fasting from sunrise to sunset. The purpose of fasting at Ramadan is to honor the revealing of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.
The date of Ramadan, and therefore Eid al-Firtr, varies each year and is dependent on the appearance of the crescent moon.
Eid al-Fitr is usually celebrated over a three-day period.
Eid al-Adha is also known as Big Eid or The Feast of The Sacrifice. It marks the end of Hajj—the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which is obligatory to those with the means at least once in their lifetime.
The festival celebrates the story of God commanding Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as a test of faith. In the story, Satan attempts to convince Ibrahim not to go ahead with the sacrifice, but he will not be convinced.
Both Ibrahim and Ismail are ready to go ahead with the sacrifice when at the last minute God intervenes and a ram is sacrificed in Ismail’s place.
As with any festival, those celebrating want to look their best. According to Islamic tradition, both men and women must dress modestly, so it’s important that this is taken into account when planning Eid outfits.
Shiffonz has designed a special Eid collection that has been created with style in mind, while still adhering to the important traditions around modesty.
Eid al-Fitr is predominantly celebrated with salty food, much more so than Eid al-Adha. In fact, for this reason it’s sometimes nicknamed “Salty Eid.”
Because Eid al-Adha commemorates the sacrifice of the ram in place of Ibrahim’s son Ismail, traditionally the festival involved the sacrifice of a lamb. This means that a lot of the food eaten as part of the Eid al-Adha celebrations is made of lamb.
Some popular dishes for Eid al-Adha are biryani (often made with mutton); tagine (which can quite easily be made vegetarian); and maqluba, which is made of meat, vegetables, and rice which are fried together in a pot and then flipped upside down so that they can be served as a kind of large savory cake.
Gifts are a large part of Eid celebrations, and they are especially given to children and people in need. The home may also be decorated with lanterns and flowers.
In places with a majority-Muslim population such as Jordan, it’s common to see a rush at local markets and malls in the days before Eid al-Fitr as people prepare to exchange gifts.
Photo by Haryo Setyadi
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