As Muslims around the world bid farewell to the holy month of fasting, Ramadan, they also prepare for the festival of Eid al-Fitr.
Depending on the sighting of the moon, Eid al-Fitr will either fall on the evening of Saturday 23 May or Sunday, the 24th.
What is Eid al Fitr?
Eid al Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of Ramadan. Traditionally, Eid is celebrated for three days in all Muslim-majority countries and is marked with prayers at mosques, visits to the homes of friends and family to eat food and exchange gifts.
How is the Beginning of Eid Determined?
The dates of Ramadan and Eid reflect the Islamic calendar, which, in turn, reflects the lunar calendar - therefore the dates change from year to year.
Like Ramadan, Eid al Fitr begins with the sighting of the crescent moon, so Muslims must wait until the evening before Eid to verify its date. If the crescent moon isn’t visible, Ramadan continues for another day.
How Will the End of Ramadan Be Celebrated in the UK This Year?
This year the Muslim Council of Britain has issued guidance on how to celebrate Eid subject to the lockdown measures in place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In a first for many Muslims across the country, they are being encouraged to “celebrate Eid in the same way as Ramadan: from home, and virtually with friends and family.”
“The special prayers for the day of Eid – usually prayed in mosques or in parks – may be prayed within households, with gifts exchanged by post, and the celebration to be shared virtually,”, the guidance states.
Commenting on the new guidance, the Muslim Council of Britain’s Secretary General Harun Khan said:
“Muslims have shown great resolve throughout Ramadan and this pandemic, adapting to a different way of life and making the best out of the month by attending virtual iftars with friends and family, and live streaming religious services to their homes.”
“Whilst Eid away from the mosques and from our loved ones is unprecedented and will be a source of great sadness in communities across the country, Muslim communities will adapt and find the best way to still celebrate this holy day whilst aligning to the latest guidance. Some will pray Eid prayers in families within their households, and virtual gatherings can be arranged to still connect with loved ones.”
He asked members of the community to use the day to pray for the safety of our communities and key workers during this pandemic.
Celebrities Encourage People to Mark Eid at Home
Celebrities including baker Nadiya Hussain and Citizen Khan creator Adil Ray have urged Muslims celebrating Eid this weekend to follow social distancing guidelines.
In a video posted online, Muslims are encouraged to stay at home and celebrate with their families online.
Addressing his fellow Muslims in the video, Ray said: "This year, we can stay home, save lives and give consideration to others. What a wonderful Eid gift that would be."
Former Blue Peter presenter and children's book author Konnie Huq, who also appears in the video, said: "By following the guidance we are helping to protect not just ourselves but also our families."