This year's celebrations marking the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan will be muted for some as vaccines are still out of reach for many.

For the second year running, Muslims marked the end of the holy month of Ramdan under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year's celebrations, prayers and engagements are likely to be muted. Celebration to celebrate the end of the month of fasting for many will be on May 13 or 14.

Even so, Muslims worldwide will take the opportunity to fashion a moment of prayer, reflection and remembering those that can't celebrate in the same way. 

What is Eid al Fitr?

Eid al Fitr, which translates as 'festival of breaking the fast', marks the end of the fasting month, which lasts between 29 or 30 days. Muslims typically use the occasion to reaffirm family and community bonds.

Eid is announced at the beginning of the tenth month of the Islamic calendar called Shawwal, which follows the month of Ramadan. The sighting of the moon is therefore important in announcing the start of a new lunar month.

Worshippers in Istanbul observe social distancing while at prayer.
Worshippers in Istanbul observe social distancing while at prayer. (Reuters)

Why will Eid be different for some this year?

In places like India, the global epicentre of Covid-19, which also has one of the largest Muslim populations at 204 million, families will be praying that their loved ones remain safe from a disease that has been taking both young and old through a new deadly variant.

For Palestinians, Eid al Fitr has been celebrated under Israeli occupation for decades, but parents will try to give their children at least one jubilant day. This year will be more difficult than most as Israeli jets are bombing Gaza, killing tens of people and wounding hundreds.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem have been gripped by weeks of protests against the occupation and the ensuing violent Israeli retaliation will likely result in sombre, but defiant, celebrations. 

Muslims practice social distancing, as a preventive measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus, while reciting the first terawih evening prayer at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque in Putrajaya on April 12, 2021.
Muslims practice social distancing, as a preventive measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus, while reciting the first terawih evening prayer at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque in Putrajaya on April 12, 2021. (AFP)

Why is Eid important?

Eid follows Ramadan, which marks the month in which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammed, who Muslims consider the final Prophet and who they honour by adding the term 'peace be upon him’.

There are two Eids in Islam. Eid al Fitr also referred to as the smaller Eid, and Eid al Adha or 'Festival of the Sacrifice'.

Muslims celebrate Eid to show thankfulness to Allah for allowing them to finish and be able to fulfil their obligation by fasting, completing good deeds in the month that Muslims consider as being better than 1,000 months.

Another important aspect of Eid is the Zakat al Fitr which means “charity of breaking the fast.”

This amount, often small and relative to the income level of a locality, is paid at the end Ramadan or during Eid so that it may go to those less financially able to celebrate eid.

Eid is also an opportunity for Muslims to show thankfulness to God in the hope of having past sins forgiven and a chance to wipe the slate clean.

How do you wish someone a 'Happy Eid'?

Regardless of the social distancing measures enforced, people will still be looking to mark the occasion. They can do this over the phone or messaging apps.

Each country has its own variation of Eid greetings, but the most common are 'Eid Mubarak' or 'Eid Saeed', which mean 'Have a blessed Eid' and 'Happy Eid' in Arabic, respectively.

In Turkey, people will commonly say 'bayraminiz Kutlu olsun', which means 'may your Bayram (Eid) be blessed'. To which the response is 'Allah Razi olsun' or 'may God bless you.

Source: TRT World