Although Eid al-Fitr is not a public holiday in the US, approximately 3.5 million Muslims within the country will celebrate the special day.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the Shawwal month in the lunar calendar.
Authorities determine the exact date of Eid al-Fitr, like the start of Ramadan, by the sighting of the crescent moon. In the US, astronomers and religious leaders will begin scanning the sky for the moon sighting at sundown on Saturday.
Depending on weather conditions, observers sometimes see the moon a day later, prolonging the month of Ramadan and the fast.
This year, Eid celebrations will be less than traditional under COVID-19 restrictions. Many mosques remain closed due to social distancing measures, and religious leaders encourage Muslims to pray at home and refrain from large gatherings.
On May 13, the Fiqh Council issued a fatwa regarding the Eid prayers, which states that although the general guidance during Eid is for Muslims to pray in congregation, it is permissible to perform prayers at home. The fatwa also encouraged mosques to live broadcast their sermons, allowing followers to safely carry out their religious practices.
Although Eid al-Fitr is not a public holiday throughout the US, approximately 3.5 million Muslims within the country will celebrate the special day. Islamic organizations have long lobbied to have both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha become holidays for schools in the US. In 2016, New York schools began granting students days off of school for both Eid celebrations.
How do you wish someone a happy Eid?
The name “Eid” translates as “celebration” or “festival,” and the descriptive “al-Fitr” refers to the breaking of the fast. Each language has its own variation of the celebratory greeting to congratulate Muslims after the month-long fast.
The most common ways to greet someone on Eid in Arabic are “Eid mubarak,” meaning “have a blessed Eid,” and “Eid saeed,” translated to “happy Eid.”
Muslims celebrating Eid typically carry out festivities for one to three days, taking part in communal post-dawn prayers, special sermons, feasts, reunions, gift-giving, and making donations to charity.
Astronomers also predict that Eid will be on May 24 in Morocco. Saudi Arabia will also observe the crescent moon on May 23 and celebrate Eid on May 24.