Have you ever heard of Eid? Maybe you’ve seen Muslims celebrating or heard about the end of Ramadan and wondered what exactly is going on. You’re not alone!
Muslim holidays are very important to the people who practice them. If you have any Muslim friends or coworkers, it is a nice idea to learn a little about their traditions. The Eid holidays are not confusing, but they can be different from what you’re used to, as most of them centre around religious aspects.
That’s where we come in. We know the importance, history, and meaning of Eid. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Muslim holidays and what people mean by “Big Eid” and “Little Eid.”
What is Eid?
There are actually two different holidays that are referred to as Eid that take place about two months apart, with Ramadan in between. This is because Eid simply means “festival” or “feast.” Historically, these holidays originate from the prophet Muhammad.
While these two festivals have different celebrations and meanings, they have some commonalities. For instance, everyone will go to their nearby mosque and participate in special prayers for each holiday. The holidays also include celebrating or visiting with friends and family and the community at large.
Because festivals in Islam are centred around the lunar calendar, the date for the festivals will change slightly every year. They both coincide with other important activities in the Muslim world, such as Ramadan and the Hajj Pilgrimage.
The Islamic world is huge. Muslims can be found all over the world and due to this, there is a lot of variation between traditions and celebrations – even how long the festivities will last! Because of this, we will focus on the most important aspects of each holiday.
Eid Al Adha (Big Eid)
This is the first of the Eids we are going to discuss. This festival is generally considered the more holy of the two holidays and is therefore frequently referred to as “Big Eid” or “Greater Eid.” Let’s keep reading to find out more about Eid Al Adha.
What is Eid Al Adha?
This festival is translated as the “Feast of Sacrifice.” This holiday is meant to commemorate when God (or Allah) came to Abraham (also known as Ibrahim in the Islamic faith) in a dream to ask him to sacrifice his son as proof of his obedience to God.
At the last moment, God stops Abraham and tells him to kill a sheep instead. The same story, with some minor differences, is found in all three Abrahamic Religions.
This obedience to God is commemorated through various festivities and traditions every year. Keep reading to learn more about how and when to celebrate Eid Al Adha.
When Do You Celebrate Eid Al Adha?
As it is based on the lunar calendar, this holiday does change dates each year. Because it is based on the moon, some countries may begin celebrations on slightly different days. However, you can expect it to find the holiday occurring in July and around two months after Eid Al Fitr.
Eid Al Adha is celebrated towards the end of the Hajj Pilgrimage. The Hajj Pilgrimage is when millions of Muslims from all over the world make the journey to Mecca, which is in Saudi Arabia. It is estimated that over three million Muslims make this pilgrimage every year.
There are five key things a Muslim is supposed to do in their lifetime, and a journey to Mecca is one of them. While not every Muslim participates in this journey every year (it is only a requirement for those who are physically and financially able), it is still important to celebrate it. You can learn more about the Hajj Pilgrimage here.
How to Celebrate Eid Al Adha?
Eid Al Adha is a celebration that typically lasts for three to four days. However, in some countries, it can be celebrated for as long as nine days.
As previously discussed, Big Eid involves praying together as a family. Typically, people will wear new and decorative clothing.
Perhaps the biggest tradition to celebrate Eid Al Adha involves sacrificing an animal. These animals need to meet certain standards to be considered appropriate for sacrifice.
In a process known as Qurbani, the meat from these sacrifices is then divided into three parts. Each section is meant to be distributed to the family, relatives and friends, and the poor. In this way, every Muslim gets to eat and celebrate during Big Eid.
Eid Al Fitr (Little Eid)
After Eid Al Adha comes the holiday of Eid Al Fitr. This festival can sometimes be called “Little Eid” or “Lesser Eid.” Despite this nickname, it’s still one of the most important holidays in Islam. So let’s keep reading to find out more about Eid Al Fitr.
What is Eid Al Fitr?
Eid Al Fitr is the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. This is celebrating the end of Ramadan and the accomplishment of fulfilling their sacred duties. Like Big Eid, celebration circles around special prayers and visiting family.
Historically, the festivities began at sunset, when the first crescent moon sighting has occurred. In contrast to the month of fasting, on Eid Al Fitr it is actually forbidden to fast. Depending on which country you are from, there might be shared meals, traditional clothing, and a focus on giving children gifts and playing games.
When Do You Celebrate Eid Al Fitr?
This usually takes place around two months before Eid Al Adha, and just like Big Eid, it takes place according to the lunar calendar. This means the date changes somewhat each year and where in the world you’re celebrating. However, the beginning date typically falls sometime in May.
This holiday is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of fasting where Muslims wake up before dawn to prepare a meal to eat and then do not eat again until sundown. You can learn more about Ramadan’s importance around the world and in Australia here!
It’s understandable that at the end of such commitment that someone would want to celebrate. In the next section, we’ll learn how to celebrate this holiday.
How To Celebrate Eid Al Fitr?
Typically, this holiday is celebrated over the course of one to three days. You can learn more about how to celebrate Eid Al Fitr in Australia with extra detail from our handy guide! But to give you a quick run-down, since Eid Al Fitr is the culmination of a month of sun-up to sun-down fasting, it’s understandable that a large part of the festivities involves feasting.
Expect special dishes and meals, especially circling around incredible desserts. Baklava, Turkish delight, pastries, cookies, honey cake and more can be found, depending on what country the people are from.
Like Eid Al Adha, preparations to include those who are less fortunate are also important. Frequently, people give to charity around this time to help families that are struggling during the holidays. Another big part of this holiday is seeking forgiveness.
How Can You Celebrate?
Muslims live all around the world, practicing their religion and traditions. Learning about Eid’s history and practices is a great step towards learning more about the Islamic faith. Aussie Muslims in particular might have some slightly different traditions after growing up or living in Australia.
These days, many Australian Muslims might invest in decorations for their homes. If you’re looking for a gift for someone you know who celebrates Eid, it might be a good idea to consider special lights or candles.
Of course, many holidays centre around food and feasting – and Eid is no different. If you are participating in a feast, you might consider offering to cook a dish from one of the many traditional recipes found online.
On Eid al Fitr, gifts known as Eidia tend to be common. Sometimes these gifts are only for children, depending on the culture. But in other traditions, these gifts can be given between adults and include money, jewellery, investments, or even vacation tickets.
You can also demonstrate your knowledge of Eid through certain phrases. “Eid Mubarak” is a popular greeting that means “Have a blessed Eid.” Another routine greeting is “Eid Saeed”, which means “Have a happy Eid.”
If you’re worried about your pronunciation, you can just say “Happy Eid!” People anywhere in the world appreciate it when you take an active interest in their culture. If you’re looking to learn more about Eid, Australia actually hosts two different Islamic Eid Shows in Melbourne and Sydney.
What Else Should You Know?
Now that you understand all about Eid and are ready to celebrate, there are some other things to consider. Are you a Muslim who has stumbled across this article while looking for financial investment advice?
Crescent Wealth Super is Australia’s first Islamically-compliant super fund. Now you can invest wealth without compromising your beliefs. Learn more today!
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