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The Eid Festival

Mainly called Eid, Eid-Ul-Fitr (Arabic: Feast of the Breaking of the Fast), Eid is also called Idul Fitri (Indonesia); Shemai Eid (Bangladesh); Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Lebaran (Malaysia); Ramazan Bayrami (Turki).

Eid is a festival that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. This year, Eid will be celebrated on 2nd October. Celebrated in many different ways depending on the country, some rituals are common to the festival including prayer, exchanging gifts, charity, and visiting near and dear ones.

During the fasting month of Ramadan, followers of Islam observe a very strict and hard to practice fast and take part in pious acts like forgiving those who have hurt them, giving food, gifts etc to charities or poor people, and forging stronger blood bonds. A time of deep spiritual renewal, Ramadan is a chance for all followers of Islam to seek the blessing of the Allah and seek His forgiveness of their sins. At the end of the 39 days fast, Muslims from the world over being a 3-day celebration to mark the end of the fasting period and this is called Eid Ul Fitr.

Eid ul Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the next month after the Ramadan according to the Islamic calendar. Recognized for the various festivities, celebrations, and rituals, Eid is a time to reunite with family and friends and renew and forge new bonds.

Just as in other Islamic countries, Eid in Pakistan is celebrated with much fervor and enthusiasm. When the new moon is sighted the people break their 29/30 days fast and enjoy a hearty and rich meal, wearing their best and newest clothes but not before reciting Takbir and offering special prayers to praise the Allah. Lasting 3-days, Eid ul Fitr is also called 'The Lesser Eid' (Choti Eid) as compared with Eid Ul Adha, which lasts for a period of 4-days and is termed as 'The Greater Eid' Bari (Eid).

Typically, people wake up very early, offer the first 'Namaz' or prayer and then eat a small meal to start the day. After this, they visit the mosque or any other large open area (in their neighborhood) to attend the specially organized congregational prayers. These Eid prayers (salah) are short and mostly followed by sermons (khutba) followed by the forgivingness and mercy prayer (dua). Once completed, all Muslims greet and hug each other as a goodwill gesture and love. After these special prayers are complete, it's time for merriment and the 3 days long festivities that are observed in every home. During this time, people also visit their relatives and friend and thank Allah for blessings.

Eid ul-Fitr is a happy occasion with significant religious meaning, celebrating the accomplishment of enhanced devoutness. It is a day of pardon, moral victory, peace, fellowship, sodality and unity. Muslims commemorate not just the end of the Ramadan month, but also thank Allah for giving them self-discipline and strength. It's generally a time of sharing, giving, and forgiving. It's a time to enjoy what you have, to dress in holiday clothes, spend time with family, and in all this always thank God for his benevolence and love.

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