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Sunday, 03 July 2016





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Eid ul Fitr - Festival of the breaking of the fast:

Time to reconcile

Eid Mubarak!

Eid ul Fitr is an important religious festival celebrated by Muslims world over. It marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid ul Fitr celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn to dusk fasting during the month of Ramadan. The festival begins on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date of commencement of any lunar Hijri month varies, based on the observation of the new moon by local religious authorities. Therefore, the exact day of celebration varies according to the locality, while generally, most countries celebrate Eid on the same day as Saudi Arabia. Muslims in Sri Lanka will celebrate Eid ul Fitr in the first week of July. Many Muslims these days visit the shopping malls with their families and children for Eid shopping to buy clothes and other accessories.

Muslims start the end of Ramadan celebrations with the special congregational prayers known as Salathul-Eid. It consists of two Rakats (units) and is generally offered in an open space or in large halls in mosques. Every year it is a beautiful sight to see Muslims praying together shoulder to shoulder at Galle Face Green, in Colombo. According to Islamic teachings, Muslims believe they are commanded by Allah to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakath and Fitra (Charity) before offering Eid prayers.


Eid ul Fitr is a day of joy and thanksgiving. On this day, Muslims display their joy for the health, strength and opportunities of life, which Allah has given them, to fulfil their obligations of fasting and other good deeds during the month of Ramadan. It is also a day of forgiveness and good feelings towards other fellow human beings. This festival originated after the advent of Islam during the period of Prophet Muhammad. The Islamic festivals were initiated in Madinah after the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah according to certain traditions.

Some Islamic historical records mention that when the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they used to entertain themselves with recreation and merriment. He asked them about the nature of these festivities at which they replied that these days were occasions of fun and recreation. At this, the Prophet remarked that the Almighty Allah has fixed two days of festivity instead of these, for you which are better, and they are Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan festival) and Eid ul Adha (Hajj festival).

Eid ul Fitr is celebrated for two or three days and the common greetings during this festival is ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘Happy Eid.’ Muslims are encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences with others or animosities that may have occurred during the year.


Muslims wake up early in the morning before sunrise and offer Salathul Fajr (Pre-sunrise prayer). According to the traditions, Muslims take a shower before Eid prayers, put on new clothes and apply some perfume. It is forbidden to fast on the day of Eid. It is customary to have a sweet breakfast such as a date fruit before attending Eid prayers. Both men and women go to the mosque at different times and perform their prayers separately, in different halls. It is a ritual to go for Eid prayers on foot. Soon after the Eid prayers, the Imam (The one who conducts the prayers) gives a sermon on a topical subject. After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives, friends and acquaintances or hold large communal celebrations in homes, community centres or halls. Eid gifts, known as Eidi (cash gifts), are given to children and the close relatives.


After Eid prayers people meet and greet each other with a traditional hug of friendship. Before returning home, people give charity to the needy and the poor, to further make it possible for everybody to enjoy the day. At home, family members enjoy special Eid breakfast with various types of sweets and desserts. For the first noon meal in a month, the Muslims in Sri Lanka mostly have biryani, a mixed rice dish with meats and vegetables and Watalappam, a coconut custard pudding with eggs and jaggery. Young girls and children enjoy applying henna, a temporary form of skin decoration on their hands and feet during Eid.

Fasting expresses many of the basic values of the Muslim community. It is a month where Muslims show their empathy for the poor, give charity, worship, practise steadfastness and patience. The month of Ramadan also teaches a Muslim to stay away from worldly desires and to focus entirely on the Lord and thank Him for his blessings. It is a rejuvenation of the religion and creates a stronger bond between the Muslim and his Lord.


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