As the coronavirus pandemic continues to circulate the world, millions of Muslims around the world celebrate one of their biggest religious festivals, Eid al-Fitr.
Eid al-Fitr is Arab for the "fast-breaking festival", and this year's celebrations, which start on the night of May 23, are likely to look very different due to the pandemic. The festival marks the end of the Muslim holiday in Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset during Ramadan, which is a time for spiritual reflection, realization and reaffirmation of the faith.
The holiday begins with a greeting from "Eid Mubarak" or "Blessed Eid", which can be translated to "have a blessed holiday".
Here's what you should know about Eid al-Fitr:
When is Eid al-Fitr observed?
The Eid al-Fitr moment is based on observing the crescent moon according to the Islamic lunar calendar. It can be difficult to predict when the festival will take place in each country.
While some Muslims wait to see the moon, many use the calculated time of the new moon or are based on the statement made in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.
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How will Eid celebrations be different amid the coronavirus?
Usually, Muslims gather in mosques and prayer areas in the morning to perform the Eid Prayer and to greet one another. Other traditions include visiting friends and relatives, organizing parties and sharing sweets.
This year, Muslim families isolated at home during the coronavirus quarantine will miss these community traditions. Instead, many are creating prayer spaces within their homes modeled after the places where they would normally love it.
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Decorating the house for the holy month is not a new tradition, but it has taken on a new meaning this year because of the isolation caused by the pandemic. Families want to maintain the festive spirit of Ramadan, especially for children who wait all year for the holiday.
During Eid, children receive new clothes, shoes and cash gifts called “Eidi” from their elders and relatives.
As mosques had to close their doors, many Islamic institutions and foundations opened more virtual spaces to help Muslims worship and offer guidance during the pandemic.
The holiday is considered a time of forgiveness and thanks to Allah for helping people to complete their spiritual fast. Many Muslims show their appreciation by giving donations and food to those less fortunate than themselves.
How long is the Eid festival?
Eid is a three-day celebration, and in most Muslim countries, Eid is viewed as a public and school holiday. In the United States, many employers and schools give Muslim workers and children time off – especially in areas with a high Muslim population.
How should you greet Muslims on Eid al-Fitr?
The most common greetings on this occasion are "Eid Mubarak", which means "have a blessed Eid".
Contribution: Waseem Abbasi and Joshua Bote, USA TODAY
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