Eid al Fitr

Eid al Fitr Quick Facts - ZA

AKA NameFestival of breaking the fast, The Sugar Feast, Bayram (Bajram), The Lesser Eid
HashtagsCompiled on#EidMubarak
Related Hashtags#Ramadan, #EidAlFitr, #EidulFitr
2024 Date9 April 2024
2025 Date30 March 2025

Eid al Fitr

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Eid-al-Fitr History

Eid al Fitr, often referred to as the "Festival of Breaking the Fas", marks the end of Ramadan, a month of intense fasting and prayer. The events comprising the Observance include congregational prayers at mosques, communal feasting and exchanging gifts. It’s a time for unity, goodwill, and bounty, reflecting on the spiritual discipline endured during the preceding month.

The ritual traces its roots back to Prophet Muhammad who initiated the tradition in 624 CE. For South Africans, this Observance holds special importance as it fosters social cohesion and cultural understanding in a country with diverse ethnic groups. Apart from its religious implications, Eid al Fitr has also served as a platform for dialogue and empathy between South Africa’s Muslim community and their fellow citizens of differing religious backgrounds.

In South Africa, Eid al Fitr starts with the sighting of the moon in the preceding evening. On the day, community members gather in homes, community centres, or mosques in their best attire to break fast together. Charitable acts, a cornerstone of this observance, takes forms such as sadaqah (voluntary charity) and zakat (mandatory alms-giving). The street carnivals featuring cuisines from various Muslim cultures, particularly in the regions of Cape Town and Johannesburg, are a central highlight. The arrival of Eid al Fitr varies each year and is dependent on the lunar Islamic calendar. However, the observance usually takes place a day later in South Africa than in many other parts of the world, due to differences in moon sighting.

Facts about Eid al Fitr

  • Prophet Muhammad asked the Muslims of Madinah about two carnivals that they used to engage in. They replied that before Islam, celebrating by setting up grand carnivals was traditional. It is reported that Muhammad said, Instead of those two days, Allah has appointed two other days which are better, the days of Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. (Book of Hadith).
  • In accordance with Islamic tradition, many Muslims wake up extra early on Eid-al-Fitr to take a bath, called ghusl. They also wear the best clothing they own.
  • Eid Al-Fitr in South Africa is known for delectable dishes such as Boeber (a sweet milk and vermicelli drink), Biryani, and various local pastries such as Koeksisters (a sweet and sticky pastry). These foods are typically enjoyed after the fast and shared with the community, friends, and family.
  • South African Muslims celebrate Eid with communal prayers at mosques or open prayer fields known as 'Eidgaahs’. Special dishes are prepared and enjoyed by families, such as samosas and sweet treats, and families often invite each other over for meals.

Top things to do in South Africa for Eid-al-Fitr

  • In Islamic South Asian communities, sheer khorma is typically made for breakfast. Sheer khorma is a sweet milky dish with broken vermicelli pasta, dried fried dates, and roasted nuts.
  • Women often decorate their hands with beautiful henna designs on Eid-al-Fitr. In the United States, many Islamic centers have henna booths set up on the last night of Ramadan.
  • Visit the Cape Malay Quarter: The Cape Malay Quarter in Cape Town, also known as the Bo-Kaap, is an important cultural hub for the Muslim community of South Africa. On Eid, the quiet streets become festive with people dressed in their finery, kids running down the cobbled stones, beautiful houses decorated and a wonderful aroma of traditional foods filling the air.

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