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Eid al-Fitr marks end of Ramadan

Friday, October 19, 2007 | 1:00 p.m. CDT; updated 2:18 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eid al-Fitr, or the festival of breaking the fast, marks the end of Ramadan — the holiest month of the Islamic lunar year. Even the U.S. Postal Service joins in the celebration — it has rolled out an Eid postage stamp every year since 2001.

This year, Muslims around the world celebrated Eid from Oct. 13 to 16, beginning at the first sight of the new moon.

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SIGNIFICANCE

Through the celebration of Eid, Muslims thank Allah for the help and strength he gave them during Ramadan to help them practice self-control. During Ramadan, the month in which the Quran was originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset to help bring them closer to Allah.

TRADITIONS

The three-day holiday is celebrated differently in every country and community, but the heart and meaning of the celebration remains the same, said MU junior Furqaan Sadiq, spokesman for MU’s Muslim Student Organization.

“Early in the morning, everyone gets up early and puts on their best clothes, often worn only for Eid, put on one’s best cologne or perfume,” Sadiq said. “People gather for an early prayer followed by a short sermon and then a huge celebration for everyone to visit and plan for the rest of the week. People travel among their friends and families who live close by to eat and make merry. Often children receive small gifts or money.”

Charity is also a very important part of Eid and the whole month of Ramadan.

“Adults are encouraged to give money to the needy and often have open dinners for friends and those in the community who cannot afford to have a big dinner,” Sadiq said.

During Eid, friends and family also greet one other with “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Holiday Blessings,” and send Eid cards.

LOCAL

Columbia residents celebrated Eid on Oct. 13 at Rock Bridge High School. Traditionally Eid is celebrated outside near mosques to allow more people to celebrate at one time and in one space.

Sources: beliefnet.com; bbc.co.uk; Furqaan Sadiq


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