How Idul Fitr is Celebrated in India
Idul Fitr is the biggest Muslim festival marking the end of the Ramzan fasting period. The festival takes place on the first day of the tenth Islamic month Shawwal.
In the Islamic calendar’s ninth month, Muslims observe fast, which is known as Ramzan. The fasting period usually lasts for 29 or 30 days based on the moon’s crescent cycle. A day’s fast begins at dawn and lasts till sunset. The purpose of the fast is to instil qualities like self-discipline, sacrifice, compassion for the poor, charity, detachment from materialistic pursuits, and develop nearness to God.
About Idul Fitr
Idul Fitr is one of the most popular festivals and public holiday in India. It is an excellent occasion to remember God, be thankful, ask for forgiveness, and rejoice with friends and relatives.
Muhammad, the Islamic Prophet introduced Idul Fitr as a festival in Madinah following his migration from Mecca. It is believed he saw people celebrating two particular days in joy and fun and felt that the Almighty wanted people to celebrate Idul Fitr.
Idul Fitr is a blessed period for the Muslim people and also the time for charity and distribution of one’s wealth. As per the Quran, a charity in the day is an act of very high value.
How Do We Celebrate Idul Fitr in India?
Idul Fitr is a three-day festival, and the celebrations are full of fun and merriment. Each country celebrates the festival in its own way.
The main highlights of the festival are:
- Shopping on the previous night: On the night before Idul Fitr, called Chaand Raat, Muslims go shopping at markets or malls with their families.
- Charity: On the morning of Idul Fitr, people make a charity contribution known as Zakat Al Fitr. All Muslims are encouraged to donate to the poor if it is affordable to them. The contributions are in the form of food items like rice, dates, or barley to enable the poor to celebrate the occasion by having a nutritious meal.
- Prayer: After Zakat Al Fitr, Muslims perform special prayers after gathering in mosques or other outdoor locations. The prayer is a thanksgiving to the Almighty for blessing them and enabling them to complete their fast period. Mostly there is a sermon after which there is a prayer session. The segments and patterns of the prayer depend on the sect to which the people belong.
- Celebrations with family and friends: Once they complete their prayers, Muslims visit their relatives and friends and exchange gifts. They also pay their respects to their ancestors’ graves. Phone calls are made to relatives who stay far away, wishing them well on the joyous occasion. People greet each other saying ‘Eid Mubarak’, which means ‘Blessed Eid’ and embrace each other. Everyone wears new traditional clothes to look their best. Men usually wear Kurta Pajama, Taqiyah, and Mojri, while women wear Lehenga Choli, Salwar, and kameez.
- Gifts: Children received various gifts on Idul Fitr in the form of money, accessories, or other items. Relatives and friends also give gifts to each other.
- Special food: Muslims make traditional delicacies for their family and friends like Kibbeh, Sheer Khurma, Seviyaan, or Ras Malai.
What to Do During Idul Fitr in India?
Idul Fitr is an excellent occasion for meeting family and friends and spending quality time together, eating different sweets and other speciality food items.
To make the day memorable, here are some suggested ways in which you can celebrate the festival:
- Women can get a traditional Mehndi design (Henna) on their hands and feet. You can choose a design denoting the traditional significance of the festival.
- Go shopping the night before Idul Fitr to buy clothes, bangles, or jewellery at special discounted prices for the festival.
- Give charity to the deserving people who cannot afford to eat good food or buy clothes for the festival.
- Gather with other members of your community for special prayers at mosques or other outdoor locales. Seeks the blessings of the Almighty for you and your family.
- Greet each member of the family, relatives, and friends by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’ and embrace them.
- Have delicious meals with your family and taste, specially prepared sweets and savoury items. Share the food items with your close friends and relatives.