Ramadan 2021 is coming to an end, and now millions of Muslims around the world are waiting to find out the date of Eid al-Fitr.
Eid, which means “feast” or “festival” in Arabic, marks the end of Ramadan – the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
Around 1.6billion people across the world have been observing Ramadan, which involves fasting from dawn to sunset.
Like the start of Ramadan, the date of Eid is traditionally dependent on the sighting of the crescent moon.
Here is all you need to know about when Eid al-Fitr starts, and Ramadan ends.
When is Eid 2021?
Eid al-Fitr will fall on Wednesday, May 12 or Thursday, May 13 this year, depending on the sighting of the new moon.
The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia has asked people to look for the Shawwal moon on the evening of Tuesday, May 11, which is the 29th day of Ramadan.
According to Islamic tradition, people look out for the moon on the 29th day of any month.
If it can be seen, the month comes to an end, but if not the month will go on for another day, lasting a full 30 days.
The Jeddah Astronomical Association has reportedly said the most likely sighting for the crescent moon will be Wednesday, May 12.
If this is the case, Eid al-Fitr will follow on Thursday, May 13 – if it isn’t sighted on Wednesday, it will come a day later.
Dates of Eid can vary by a day or so depending on moon-sighting announcements from different locations.
For example, some communities follow the Saudi news, while others look for confirmation from Morocco.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
Eid al-Fitr, or Eid ul-Fitr, is the first day of the month of Shawwal – the 10th month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar.
The word itself comes from an Arabic term which translates as “feast of breaking the fast”.
It’s traditional for Muslims to gather together to celebrate breaking the fast.
It’s not surprising that after a month of fasting everyday, Eid celebrations centre around food.
It’s common for people to visit each other, spend time with friends and family, and often exchange gifts.
One key tradition is for adults to give the younger members of the family an “eddeya”, which is a sum of money.
It’s also traditional to visit the sick, give to charity and pay respect to those who have passed away.
Large-scale events are also commonplace, although this will likely be scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Typically, early morning prayers are. Held in mosques, community centres and outdoor spaces.
It’s also common to greet people with “Eid Mubarak”, which means “have a blessed Eid”.
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