Eid al-Fitr, “feast of breaking of the fast” is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality.
Eid al-Fitr has a particular Salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two Rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (Jama’at) and has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying “Allāhu Akbar”, literally “God is great”), three of them in the beginning of the first raka’ah and three of them just before Ruku’ in the second raka’ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. Other Sunni schools usually have 12 Takbirs, seven in the first, and five at the beginning of the second raka’ah. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed,obligatory, Mustahabb strongly recommended, just short of obligatory or mandoob (preferable).
Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat-ul-fitr before offering the Eid prayers.
Traditionally, it is the day (beginning at sunset) of the first sighting of the crescent moon shortly after sunset. If the moon is not observed immediately after the 29th day of the previous lunar month (either because clouds block its view or because the western sky is still too bright when the moon sets), then it is the following day.
Eid al-Fitr was originated by prophet Muhammad ‘Peace be upon Him.’ It is observed on the first of the month of Shawwal at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims undergo a period of fasting.
According to certain traditions, these festivals were initiated in Medina after the migration of Muhammad (PBUH) from Mecca. When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he found people celebrating two specific days in which they used to entertain themselves with recreation and merriment. He asked them about the nature of these festivities at which they replied that these days were occasions of fun and recreation. At this, the Prophet remarked that the Almighty has fixed two days [of festivity] instead of these for you which are better than these: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha
For Muslims, both the festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are occasions for showing gratitude to Allah and remembering Him, as well as giving alms to the poor.
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated for one, two or three days. Common greetings during this holiday are the Arabic greeting ‘Eid Mubārak (“Blessed Eid”) or ‘Eid Sa‘īd (“Happy Eid”). In addition, many countries have their own greetings in the local language. Muslims are also encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences with others or animosities that may have occurred during the year.
Typically, practising Muslims wake up early in the morning—always before sunrise—offer Salatul Fajr (the pre-sunrise prayer), and in keeping with the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) clean their teeth with a toothbrush, take a shower before prayers, put on new clothes (or the best available), and apply perfume.
It is forbidden to fast on the Day of Eid. It is customary to acknowledge this with a small sweet breakfast, preferably of date (fruit), before attending a special Eid prayer (known as salaat).
Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan has to do with the communal aspects of the fast, which expresses many of the basic values of the Muslim community; e.g., empathy for the poor, charity, worship, steadfastness, patience etc. Fasting is also believed by some scholars to extol fundamental distinctions, lauding the power of the spiritual realm, while acknowledging the subordination of the physical realm. It also teaches a Muslim to stay away from worldly desires and to focus entirely on the Lord and thank Him for his blessings. It is a rejuvenation of the religion and it creates a stronger bond between the Muslim and his Lord.