Shannon Brady
Writer & Editor

With the end of Ramadan comes Eid al-Fitr, which this year begins the evening of Tuesday, April 9 and continues for three days of celebration and prayer. (Both holidays are determined by the lunar calendar, so they take place on a different date on the commonly used solar calendar every year.)

Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, is a time of fasting, community, and charity. So naturally, its ending is marked by the joyful holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the “feast of breaking fast.” It can also be called, simply, “Eid” (not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, which is estimated to begin June 16 this year and can be called the same). After the fasting and self-reflection of Ramadan, Eid is a celebration of the blessings of God, and a time to forgive and seek forgiveness from others for wrongs done.

Traditionally, the three-day festival begins with the dawn prayer service, before which observers bathe and eat dates. A charitable donation of food or an equivalent amount of money called Zakat al-Fitr (also known as Fitrana, Eid Fitrana, or Sadaqatul Fitr) is collected during the service to ensure that all observers can break their fast and celebrate, no matter their circumstances.

The rest of the day is filled with festivities, time spent with loved ones and one’s congregation, and charity and community service to those less fortunate. Often, observers wear new clothes, decorate their homes, and exchange gifts; children are sometimes given cash gifts called Eidi or Eidiyah. Many sweet foods such as dried fruit, cookies, cakes, and confectioneries are holiday favorites, earning the festival the nicknames “Sweet Eid” or “Sugar Festival.” Eid is celebrated around the world, with every country’s Muslim communities observing many different variations on traditional customs.

Eid al-Fitr is not a federal holiday in the United States, so you can expect government buildings, most businesses, and banks to be operating on normal hours. Eid is one of the major holidays for which the New York City Department of Transportation suspends alternate side parking rules: visit their website here to learn more.

Several cities, including New York City, have declared Eid a public school holiday, so check your district’s policy to see whether classes are in session Wednesday, April 10. In any case, educators and employers should be prepared to accommodate observant students and employees who request time off from work or class to celebrate.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us anytime at Stay safe and healthy, and Eid Mubarak!