Eid Al Fitr is a remarkable holiday for Muslim people. It celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a 30-days period of fasting and prayers, and marks the start of Shawwal, the Islamic 10th lunar month.
Eid Al Fitr is literally translated as a ‘festival of fast end’, and is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal. What is interesting, it’s impossible to predict accurately the date of the holiday using Gregorian calendar as the beginning of Shawwal depends on the moon sighting and starts when the new moon appears. Therefore announced in Saudi Arabia, the start of the holiday can still vary for Muslims living in different countries.
Eid Al Fitr is considered a time to show love and kindness to family, friends and, of course, Allah. All the sins are believed to be forgiven also as a reward for preceding period of fasting and prayers during Ramadan.
Being a public holiday in the United Arab Emirates, Eid Al Fitr is normally celebrated throughout couple of days, which are announced as days off by the UAE government. Still it is worth to mention non-working days differ for employees of public and private sector.
This year celebration dates have already been declared. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation a public sector is expected to have official days off from July, 3 till July, 9 with back to work time on Sunday, July 10. Private sector employees will get a paid leave on the first and the second day of Shawwal, but in fact their holidays can last for 4 days with Eid Al Fitr predicted to fall on July, 6.
If staying in Emirates during this period it’s more than probable you will hear “Eid Mubarak” from here and there. The greeting is translated as “Happy Eid”, and we encourage you also to use it instead of common “hi”, when you meet someone.
Eid Al Fitr celebration for Muslim people starts early in the morning. Before the sun rises, they normally take a bath and dress their best clothes, accurately prepared long time before the holiday. As Eid Al Fitr means the end of fasting, a light breakfast is taken before Salat al-Eid, a special prayer that starts when the sun is approximately two meters high from the horizon. Both women and men are allowed to join the prayer; still women do it in a separate room or building of the mosque, or separated area when praying in masse.
Participation in prayers is an obligatory for Muslim people, meaning they are ready to forgive each other and the harms they have experienced and to forget all the arguments they had before.
Charity actions are also highly welcomed and depend on the income and position of a certain person. They are called Zakat, and are aimed to help the needy. Zakat-al-Fitr can be given throughout the Ramadan or during Eid-al-Fitr holidays, and usually come in the form of food. Communal meals can be organized as well.
The other ways of Eid-Al-Fitr celebration include visiting relatives and friends, sending postcards, giving presents and candies to children, participating in mass festivities.
We encourage all the expats and tourist visiting the UAE during Eid-Al-Fitr to join the celebration!