Eid – short for Eid al-Fitr – means ‘festival of breaking the fast’. It marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month, and is celebrated by Muslims around the world. Here’s what you need to know about celebrating Eid in South Africa.
Eid is traditionally celebrated for three days, but this changes from country to country. Here is what you need to know about Eid 2019.
When is Eid in South Africa 2019
Eid begins when the Shawwal moon is sighted. The dates of Ramadan changes every year because the Islamic calendar is based on moon cycles.
In South Africa, Eid began on the evening of Monday 3 June. It will end on the evening of 4 June. The dates are announced by a special board of astronomers in Saudi Arabia.
Eid is celebrated twice a year to recognise and recall two distinct events. Eid al Fitr marks the occasion when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
In addition, Eid al-Adha will be celebrated from Sunday, 11 August 2019 to Thursday, 15 August 2019. It commemorates the story of how God commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as a test of faith.
Eid al-Fitr greetings
The traditional greeting is Eid Mubarak, which means ‘happy holidays.’ The phrase ‘Eid Mubarak’ is exchanged between Muslims throughout Eid.
The greetings vary depending on the country. Eid is called Lebaran in Indonesia, with the standard greeting being ‘Selamat Lebaran,’ meaning ‘Happy Eid’.
Other variations of the greetings include ‘Mutlu Bayramlar’ in Turkish. As well as ‘Barka da Sallah’ in the Nigerian languages, Hausa.
How Eid is celebrated in South Africa
Eid is a one-day celebration that marks the end of the holy month of fasting for Muslims. In many Muslim countries, Eid is a three-day celebration.
While it’s often referred to as being similar to Christmas for Muslims, it differs significantly as it is a celebration of the end of a month discipline.
In the days leading up to Eid, Muslims will give sadaqatul fitra or alms to the poor. This act of charity serves to show gratitude to God and to gain blessing for keeping the fast.
Fitra also serves to help the less fortunate celebrate Eid. Another reason it is given prior to Eid is so that recipients are able to make preparations for the celebration.
On the day, Muslims will wake up early and dress in their chosen Eid outfits before preparing the home for visitors, who may stop by later in the day. Muslims will then gather at Mosques or open fields where they will perform the special Eid prayer.
They will also visit their loved ones, where they will enjoy the food that has been lovingly prepared in advance. Older family members will give small amounts of money to younger family members; and help to teach the value of being more charitable.