Eid Mubarak! After a month of fasting, it's time to celebrate

Asha Rego
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Jul 18: Eid-ul-Fitr, the main festival celebrated by Muslims around the globe imparts a very special and meaningful message. The intense fasting and prayers devoutly performed during the entire month of Ramadan bring about a positive renewal of the heart and the mind.

Eid-ul-Fitr is a celebration which follows Ramadan as a day of jubilation and puts an end to the 29/30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting. The sighting of the crescent moon heralds both the Ramadan month as well as determines the day of the festival. If the moon is not spotted immediately after the 29th day of fasting, it falls on the next day.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is marked by a period of fasting from dawn to sunset, performing special prayers and reciting the Holy Quran. Through fasting one is able to identify oneself with those deprived of food and also to exercise control of the mind in order to overcome temptations. Fasting is not connected to food alone, but also to the elimination of all kinds of vices that pollute the mind and body thus bringing the system in tune with the divine. Past scores, if any are forgiven.

The month which follows Ramadan is Shawwaal. The first day of this month is celebrated as Eid-ul-Fitr.

The day of Eid-ul-Fitr begins with Namaz offered at Idgahs. The special call for prayer (Takbeer) at sunrise beckons Muslims to the Masjid. Idgahs, Masjids and large open grounds are thronged with devotees offering Eid prayers. Two rounds of 'Rakat' are offered by the congregation during Namaz, followed by 'Khutbah' (sermon) by the priest. Then comes the Dua (verbal prayers) and lastly the priest wishes the congregation, after which everyone greets each other with 'Eid Mubarak'.

After bathing and getting dressed in fine attire, the male members of the community gather at the Masjid for Namaz while females offer prayers at home. In some mosques, separate arrangements are made so that women too can perform prayers in congregation.

The special Eid breakfast comes as a warm welcome with kheer (sheer kurma), idlis and chicken gravy or other varieties. Muslims visit one another's homes exchanging Eid sweets, ‘Eid Mubārak' (Blessed Eid) greetings and hugs. Young children are presented with cash gifts by the elders, called the 'Eidi'.

The night before the Eid is marked with much enthusiasm as families prepare for the festival. For women and girls, it is even more special as they spend hours applying delicate mehendi designs on their hands. Applying mehendi is a custom of sorts, and has its own special charm.

The grand Eid celebration meal draws family and friends around it thereby strenghtening the bond of love and unity with one another. The dining table is laden with dates, chicken or mutton biryani, sheer kurma, fried chicken, and lots of dessert delights like falooda, caramel custard, and much more.

Ramadan is also a month when 'Zakat' or charity is given in abundance. According to the agricultural produce of the area the family resides in, which may be either rice or wheat, offerings are made to the poor and needy. The offering is made according to 2.6 kg per head per house, or its equivalent in cash. Alms are also donated to the needy. One of the main purposes behind giving Zakat, besides helping the needy, is to attain spiritual purification.

Wishing all readers a blessed Eid.

Eid Mubarak!


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