This weekend, Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
The festival marks the end of Ramadan, an annual period when Muslims fast to help deepen spiritual devotion and commemorate the work of the prophet Mohammed.
It is not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, which comes at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage period.
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Eid al-Fitr is normally celebrated communally with prayers and gatherings. This isn’t possible in 2020 due to coronavirus lockdown rules that ban gatherings of more than few people outside a single household.
Here’s everything you need to know about Eid al-Fitr and how it is celebrated.
When is Eid al-Fitr? Eid-al-Fitr falls on either Saturday, May 23 or Sunday, May 24 this year – depending on when the full moon is sighted.
The exact dates change each year, as the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle.
The celebrations mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, which began on April 23 this year.
What does Eid al-Fitr celebrate? Muslims thank Allah on Eid al-Fitr for giving them the strength to keep to their daytime fast throughout Ramadan. They may also ask for forgiveness if they broke their fast during the month.
The festival is also held to give thanks to Allah for giving Muslims the Koran, the religion’s holy text. The Koran provides Muslims with guidelines for living a holy life.
How is it different from Eid al-Adha? Eid al-Adha, also known as The Festival of Sacrifice, marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage, and is considered the holier of the two Eids.
Eid al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage (one of the five pillars of Islam) and will fall at the start of August this year. The festival remembers the story of Ibrahim’s sacrifice when Allah appeared to him in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Isma’il as an act of obedience to God.
How are Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr in coronavirus lockdown? Eid al-Fitr is normally celebrated in mosques, and then in gatherings and parties with friends and family. Neither of these are possible this year, with places of worship closed and gatherings of more than ten people banned under coronavirus lockdown rules.
The Sultan of Sokoto has advised Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at home with members of their household, and speak with others via video calls.
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