When is Eid al-Fitr? Muslims to celebrate one of the biggest holy festivals amid coronavirus

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When is Eid al-Fitr? Muslims to celebrate one of the biggest holy festivals amid coronavirus

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to circle the globe, millions of Muslims around the world will celebrate one of their biggest religious festivals, Eid al-Fitr.

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Ramia Asmar and her daughter Noor, 11, walk to their homemade mosque before praying on Friday, May 8, 2020.© Michael Karas/NorthJersey.com Ramia Asmar and her daughter Noor, 11, walk to their homemade mosque before praying on Friday, May 8, 2020.

Eid al-Fitr is Arabic for “festival of the breaking of the fast,” and this year’s celebrations, which begin the evening of May 23, will likely look a lot different due to the pandemic. The festival marks the end of the Muslim holiday of 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, fulfillment and reaffirming of faith.

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The holiday begins with a greeting of either “Eid Mubarak” or “Blessed Eid,” both of which can be translated to “have a blessed holiday.”

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Here’s what you should know about Eid al-Fitr:

When is Eid al-Fitr observed?

The timing of Eid al-Fitr is based on sighting of the crescent moon per the Islamic lunar calendar. It can be difficult to predict when the festival will occur in each country.

While some Muslims wait to see the moon themselves, many either use the calculated time of the new moon, or base it on the declaration made in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

Ramadan amid coronavirus: Muslim hearts ache as coronavirus keeps us apart during Ramadan

How will Eid celebrations be different amid coronavirus?

Typically, Muslims gather at mosques and prayer areas in the morning to perform Eid Prayer and greet each other. Other traditions include visiting friends and relatives, hosting food parties and sharing sweets.

This year, Muslim families isolated at home during the coronavirus quarantine will miss those communal traditions. Instead, many are creating prayer spaces inside their houses modeled after the places where they normally would worship. 

Can’t go to mosque during Ramadan?: Families make ‘mini-mosques’ at home amid coronavirus

Home decorating for the holy month is not a new tradition, but it’s taken on new significance this year because of the isolation wrought by the pandemic. Families want to keep the festive spirit of Ramadan, especially for children who look forward all year to the holiday.

During Eid, children get new clothes, shoes and cash gifts called “Eidi” from their elders and relatives.

Since 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 of giving thanks to Allah for helping people to complete their spiritual fasting. Many Muslims display their thanks by giving donations and food to those less fortunate than themselves.

Ramadan 2020: Coronavirus has changed the way Muslims celebrate Ramadan, in virtual spaces and in solitude

How long is the Eid festival?

Eid is a three-day celebration and in most Muslim countries, Eid is observed as public and school holidays. In the U.S., many employers and schools allow time off for Muslim workers and children – particularly in areas with a high Muslim population.

How should you greet Muslims on Eid al-Fitr?

The most standard greetings on this occasion is “Eid Mubarak” which means “have a blessed Eid.”

Contributing: Waseem Abbasi and Joshua Bote, USA TODAY

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1/31 SLIDES © Kemal Softic, AP

People pray at the Begova mosque in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. After nearly two months in lockdown, mosques in Bosnia have reopened to believers celebrating the islamic holy month of Ramadan, who can attend three daytime prayers as long as they observe social distancing rules and use protective equipment.

2/31 SLIDES © ISHARA S. KODIKARA, AFP via Getty Images

A Muslim religious scholar prays at the Jummah Masjid Mosque during the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan in Colombo , Sri Lanka on May 4, 2020.

3/31 SLIDES © ISHARA S. KODIKARA, AFP via Getty Images

A Muslim religious scholar weating a facemask prays at the Jummah Masjid Mosque during the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan in Colombo on May 4, 2020.

4/31 SLIDES © Anjum Naveed, AP

Volunteers distribute food boxes and a traditional sweet drink among people for breaking their fast, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Sunday, May 3, 2020. Muslims across the world are observing Ramadan when the faithful refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk.

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In this Tuesday, April 28, 2020, photo, Asghar Ali Khan and his wife Shaheen, participate in the evening prayer as the Iftar, the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset, waits on the dining room table at their Wheeling,Ill., home.

6/31 SLIDES © Hazem Bader, AFP via Getty Images

An Islamic chanting group performs after the Tarawih nightly prayers (last of the night) during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, in the closed-down al-Salam mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron early on May 2, 2020, while broadcasting live on social media for people in confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

7/31 SLIDES © ARIF ALI, AFP via Getty Images

Muslim devotees maintain social distancing as they offer Friday prayers at the Data Darbar Mosque during Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan in Lahore, Pakistan on May 1, 2020.

8/31 SLIDES © MOHAMMED ABED, AFP via Getty Images

A Palestinian reads passages from the holy Koran on the International Labour Day holiday on the beach in Gaza City on May 1, 2020, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

9/31 SLIDES © DELIL SOULEIMAN, AFP via Getty Images

A Kurdish man prays during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at a mosque free of worshippers as authorities close down places of worship due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in the city of Qamishli in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province, on April 29, 2020.

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10/31 SLIDES © DELIL SOULEIMAN, AFP via Getty Images

An elderly Kurdish man sits reading the holy Koran during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at a mosque free of worshippers as authorities close down places of worship due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in the city of Qamishli in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province, on April 29, 2020.

11/31 SLIDES © MOHAMMED ABED, AFP via Getty Images

A Palestinian man reads the Koran during the holy month of Ramadan in Gaza City during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on April 28, 2020.

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A Palestinian vendor wears a face mask as a protection against the spread of the coronavirus as he sells pickles in the Zawiya market during a Ramadan day in Gaza City, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

13/31 SLIDES © AFP via Getty Images

Worshippers perform Isha prayer while keeping distance between them next to the Kaaba in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site on April 27, 2020. – Saudi Authorities allowed for limit number of worshipers to enter the Grand mosque to perform prayers during the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan, amid unprecedented bans on family gatherings and mass prayers due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

14/31 SLIDES © ADEK BERRY, AFP via Getty Images

Indonesian Muslim men offer afternoon prayers on the fourth day of Ramadan at the Grand Istiqlal mosque, currently undergoing renovation, in Jakarta on April 27, 2020.

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15/31 SLIDES © Marwan Ali, AP

Sudanese men wait to break their daytime fast during the Holy Islamic month of Ramadan, amid a curfew due to the coronavirus pandemic, in a street in the capital of Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, April 27, 2020.

16/31 SLIDES © Anjum Naveed, AP

People pray before receiving free food for breaking their fast on the second day of Ramadan, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Sunday, April 26, 2020. Millions have started the Muslim fasting month Ramadan, the holiest month on the Islamic calendar, under the coronavirus lockdown or strict social restrictions.

17/31 SLIDES © FAROOQ NAEEM, AFP via Getty Images

A worker of the non-governmental organization Muslim Hands Pakistan distributes Iftar food to people in need on the second day of Holy month of Ramadan, on the outskirts of Islamabad on April 26, 2020.

18/31 SLIDES © Anjum Naveed, AP

A man stands in front of a painting on an apartment wall as he prays before breaking his fast on the second day of Ramadan, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Sunday, April 26, 2020.

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An Indonesian Muslim prays at a mosque during the first day of a holy month of Ramadan in Tangerang, Indonesia on April 24, 2020.

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An aerial view shows the Great Mosque and the Mecca Tower, deserted on the first day of Ramadan, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on April 24, 2020.

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A French muslim family have the traditional Iftar meal, the meal after sunset during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in Paris, on April 24, 2020, as the country is under lockdown to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.

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A health worker checks the temperature of a man before the Friday prayers on the first day of Ramadan at Wazir Akbar Khan mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Muslims offer Friday prayers on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 24, 2020.

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Muslim men attend a Friday prayer despite concerns of the coronavirus outbreak, at a mosque during Ramadan in Lhokseumawe, Indonesia, on April 24, 2020.

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Muslim men read the Quran during the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

26/31 SLIDES © Chaideer Mahyuddin, AFP via Getty Images

People take part in Friday prayers during Ramadan in the Al Makmur mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

27/31 SLIDES © Wakil Kohsar, AFP via Getty Images

Muslims offer Friday prayers on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

28/31 SLIDES © Wakil Kohsar, AFP via Getty Images

A Muslim man offers Friday prayers on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at Pul-e Khishti mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 24, 2020.

29/31 SLIDES © PRAKASH MATHEMA, AFP via Getty Images

A Muslim devotee attends a prayer on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, at the Jame Mosque in Kathmandu, Nepal on April 25, 2020.

30/31 SLIDES © ISHARA S. KODIKARA, AFP via Getty Images

A Muslim family prays before breaking their fast at a home during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Malwana, Sri Lanka on April 25, 2020.

31/31 SLIDES © SAJJAD HUSSAIN, AFP via Getty Images

An illuminated Jama Masjid mosque is pictured on the first day of Muslim’s holy fasting month of Ramadan under a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in New Delhi on April 25, 2020. Mosques stood empty and fast-breaking feasts were cancelled as Muslims around the world began marking Ramadan under coronavirus lockdown, while a pushback in some countries sparked fears of a surge in infections.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When is Eid al-Fitr? Muslims to celebrate one of the biggest holy festivals amid coronavirus


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