The 2001 US postage stamp was designed by the Virginia calligrapher Zakariya, and generated some public complaints -- unusual for government-issued postage stamps, which are usually 100% certified bland and controversy-free. Government stamps typically celebrate Apple Pie, Butterflies and little children holding hands. If this Eid stamp had been issued in an Islamic country, it would have the equivalent controversy of a "Happy Holidays" midwinter stamp in the USA.
Mubarak means "blessed," akin to the Hebrew word "Baruch."
Eid ul-Fitr is the celebration that marks the end of the month of Ramadan. As Vleeptron is the recognized repository of theological ignorance of nearly every faith, we filch the following from Wikipedia -- but they seem to have taken pains to filch this info from Authentic Muslim Sources.
(The English dialect has a heavy aroma of the Asian Subcontinent. The Author is also Long-Winded and redundant and repeats the same things many times, and Agence-Vleeptron Presse would make life a living Hell for him/her if he/she tried to slip this kind of writing past the Beloved Editor.)
I would LOVE to get annoyed Comments about any blunders, errors and mistakes.
Arabic: عيد الفطر
Persian: عید فطر
[hmmm that ? is a Persian character that didn't make the trip from its original to Vleeptron. The Arabic had a luckier trip through the Zeta Beam.]
often abbreviated as simply Eid, sometimes spelled Eid al-Fitr, is an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Fitr means "to break the fast" and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period.
On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family gets up very early and attends special prayers held only for the occasion in mosques, in large open areas, stadiums or arenas. The prayer is generally short, and is followed by a khutba [sermon].
The festivities and merriment start after the prayers with visits to the homes of friends and relatives and thanking Allah for all blessings. Eid is a time to come together as a community and to renew friendship and family ties. This is a time for peace for all Muslims in the world to devote to prayers and mutual well-being.
It is a joyous occasion with important religious significance. Happiness is observed as attaining spiritual uplift after a month of fasting. Muslims dress in holiday attire. After attending the special congregational prayer in the morning, worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace, love, and brotherhood. Visiting friends and relatives is common.
For Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr is a joyful celebration of the achievement of enhanced piety. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory and peace, of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but thanking God for the help and strength that they believe He gave them throughout the previous month to help them practice self-control.
The first Eid was celebrated in 624 CE by the Prophet Muhammad with his companions and relatives over the completion a month of fasting.
The holiday follows the month of Ramadan, falling on the first day of Shawwal (the tenth month in the Islamic calendar). As with all months in the Islamic calendar, it begins with the sighting of the new moon, although some people choose to use scientific calculations instead of a confirmed visual sighting.
Because the day depends on the sighting of the moon, the sighting could only [be] possible just before the sunset. Most check with local mosques or other members of the community to see if the moon has been sighted by authoritative parties. In Malaysia, they are using both sighting of the moon and astronomical calculation to verify the date. But the calculation is only used to verify the sighting of the moon (i.e. the exact time of the visibilty of the moon). For this reason there may be regional differences in the exact date of Eid, with some Muslims fasting for 29 days and some for 30 days.
Eid ul-Fitr commemorates the end of the month of Ramadan. Fasting is forbidden on this day as it marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. A Muslim is encouraged to rise early and partake of a light snack such as dates before then attending morning prayers with family members in the local community mosque.
Traditions and practices
Common greetings during this three-day festival are the Arabic greeting "Eid mubarak" or "Eid saeed" which, loosely translated, mean "Happy Eid!" In addition, many countries have their own greetings based on local language and traditions.
Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes, new if possible, and to attend a special Eid prayer that is performed in congregation at mosques or open areas like fields, squares etc. When Muslims finish their fast at the last day (29th or 30th Ramadan), they congregate to recite Takbir:
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,
laa ilaha illallah,
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar wa li-illahi-alhamd
God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest
There is no deity but [the One] God
God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest and to God goes all praise
The Takbir is recited after confirmation that the moon of Shawwal is sighted on the eve of the last day of Ramadan. It continues until the start of the Eid prayer. Before the Eid prayer begins, every Muslim (man, women or child) must pay Zakat al Fitr, an alms for the month of Ramadan. This equates to about 2 kg of a basic foodstuff (wheat, barley, dates, raisins, etc.), or its cash equivalent, and is typically collected at the mosque. This is distributed to needy local Muslims prior to the start of the Eid prayer. It can be given anytime during the month of Ramadan and is often given early, so the recipient can utilise it for Eid purchases. This is distinct from Zakat based on their wealth, which must be paid to a worthy charity.
The Eid prayer (salah) is followed by the khutba (sermon) and then a prayer (dua') asking for forgiveness, mercy and help for the plight of Muslims across the world. It is then customary to embrace the persons sitting on either side of you as well as your relatives, friends and acquaintances.
Muslims spend the day thanking the Creator for all their blessings, as well as just having fun and enjoying themselves. Children are normally given gifts or money. Women (particularly relations) are normally given special gifts by their loved ones. Eid is also the time for reconciliations. Feuds or disputes, especially between family members, are often settled on Eid.
Eid ul-Fitr in the USA and Canada
Typically, the end of Ramadan is announced accordingly via e-mail, postings on websites or chain phone calls to all members of a community. Usually working people make arrangements for a lighter work day on the days that may possibly be the Eid day. But many North American Muslims cannot take the whole day off. A typical Muslim family in the USA or Canada will wake up very early in the morning and have a small breakfast.
Next the family will go to the nearest congregational prayer. The prayer may be held at the local mosque, hotel ballroom, arena or stadium. Often these prayers are held in shifts; for example, the first prayer would at 7 am, the second at 9 am, and the third at 11 am, etc.
After prayers, the Muslims disperse. Muslims in the USA and Canada typically celebrate the day in a "varied" way. Some have to go to work, others have the day off and spend the time visiting friends and family. Muslim children who attend public school often take the day off and spend it with members of the family who are able to take the day off.
Because North American Muslims come from all parts of the world, not any one particular food is served on that day. Often a Muslim North American family will visit the homes of friends of many heritages on that day.
Eid ul-Fitr in Indonesia [the world's most populous Islamic nation]
In Indonesia the feast is named Hari Raya Idul Fitri or informally, Lebaran. Hari Raya literally means The Great Day of (Celebration). Sometimes, there are different statements on when the day falls, especially between Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, because people use different techniques to determine it. Almost all of the people follow the government of Indonesia's statement and such differences do not get in the way of people celebrating. This event is recognized as a national holiday and starts a few days before Eid ul-Fitr and lasts some days after it. Schools also have different schedule for the holiday as many Islamic schools usually make it a longer holiday.
Muslims in Indonesia usually ask forgiveness from their relatives and friends after the special prayer. Another interesting Eid ul-Fitr tradition in Indonesia is mudik that usually applies to urbanites who came to Jakarta from the other provinces of Java or other islands in Indonesia. Before Eid ul-Fitr comes, people will go back to their hometowns where their relatives, sometimes including their parents, reside. This event often causes crowding in airports, seaports, and bus stations while some who are travelling by car are trapped in the traffic jam for hours. For little children, asking for money as well as forgiveness from relatives is common to motivate them. Many, especially in the cities, also use the term angpau for the money just like Chinese people do.
It is common to greet people with "Selamat Hari Raya" (Indonesian) or "Salam Aidilfitri" (Malay) which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "Mohon maaf lahir dan batin" which means "I'm sorry physically and spiritually," [because] Eid ul-Fitr is ... also the time for Muslims to clean their sins and strengthen their silaturrahim with relatives and friends.
At the night of the last day of Ramadan, Indonesians usually do 'Takbiran.' Takbiran is a big celebration, people, from little children to old men, recite the takbir with a microphone in a parade. They travel around the town and usually they hit 'bedug,' a large drum, as a background music of the takbir.
Eid ul-Fitr in Pakistan/India
After the Holy month of Ramadan ... Muslims celebrate the sighting of the new moon (start of the new Muslim month) by going to bazaar [and] malls with their families and children for Eid shopping. In Pakistan, the night before Eid is called Chand Raat, or night of the moon. Women, especially young girls, often paint each others' hands with traditional henna and wear colorful bangles.
On the morning of Eid ul-Fitr, every Muslim is required to wear new clothes, if he/she can afford them, otherwise wear washed clothes, have a fresh bath and go to mosque for special Eid prayers, thanking Allah (God) for the health enabling a Muslim to observe fast and enjoy the blessings of Allah Almighty during the holy month of Ramadan. The Muslims are ordained to pay Zakat al-Fitr (special charity money) to the poor and needy before the Eid prayer, so that they can also enjoin other Muslims to celebrate the happiness of Eid.
After the prayers, the congregation is dispersed, the Muslims meet and greet each other, family members, children, elders, friends etc.
Some Muslims specially go to graveyard to pray for the departed and convey their salam (peace). Usually, children visit their parents and other family elders to pay respects and greet.
Special arrangements are made for the family/friends to visit each other to greet on this special occasion. They even exchange gifts, pay charity to needy and enjoy.
One of the special dishes in Pakistan and Fiji is savayya, a dish of fine, toasted vermicelli noodles . Elder family members give eidi (small amount of money or gifts) to children. After meeting friends and relatives, some people go for joyous parties, feasts, special carnivals and parks (with picnics, fireworks, etc.). In Pakistan, many bazaars, malls, and restaurants get crowded with people.
Some people also avail this opportunity to distribute Zakat, the obligatory tax on one's wealth, to the needy.
In this way, the Muslims celebrate their Eid ul-Fitr by thanking Allah Almighty and bringing their family, friends and the poor and needy closer.
Eid ul-Fitr in Iran
In the predominantly Shia culture of Iran, Eid is a highly personal event, and celebrations are often more muted. Called Eideh Fitr by most Iranians, charity is important on that day. Typically, each Muslim family gives food to those in need.
Often meat or ghorbani, which is an expensive food item in Iran, will be given by those in wealthier families to those who have less. Payment of fitra is obligatory for each Muslim.
The tradition in many families holds that for each member of your household on the day of Eid, one person outside of your family needs to be fed. Many Iranian families have chelo kabab, which is skewered meat served with white rice, grilled tomatoes, herbs and yogurt on that day. Thanking God for all blessings is top on the list of activities for the day. The day is a national holiday. So most people spend the day at home or visiting family or going for outings in the areas around the big cities.
Eid ul-Fitr in Turkey
In Turkey, where Eid ul-Fitr is infused with more national traditions and religious celebrations are altogether referred to as Bayram, it is customary for people to greet one another with "Bayraminiz Kutlu Olsun" ("May Your Bayram Be Celebrated", i.e. "Merry Bayram"), "Mutlu Bayramlar" ("Happy Bayram"), or the less-used "Bayraminiz Mübarek Olsun" (May Your Bayram Be Holy", i.e. "Holy Bayram Upon You"). It is a time for people to visit their friends, relatives, neighbors and pay their repects to the deceased with cemetery visits. It is ... especially important to honor the elderly ... by kissing their right hand and placing it on one's forehead while wishing them Bayram greetings. It is also customary for children to go around the neighborhood, door to door, and wish everyone a happy Bayram, for which they are awarded candy or a small amount of money at every door, almost in a Halloween-like fashion.
Eid ul-Fitr in the Gregorian Calendar
While Eid ul-Fitr is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, much like Easter, due to differences between the two calendars, since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. Furthermore, the method used to determine when each Islamic month begins varies from country to country.
[These dates] are only estimates:
23 October ... 2006
13 October ... 2007
02 October ... 2008
21 September 2009
10 September 2010
13 October ... 2007
02 October ... 2008
21 September 2009
10 September 2010
Eid ul-Fitr officially begins the night before each of the above dates, at sunset.