Eid-ul-Fitr 2021: Moon sighting time in India, history and significance

Eid-ul-Fitr 2021: Moon sighting time in India, history and significance Representative image- Pixabay

New Delhi: Eid-ul-Fitr or Eid-al-Fitr is one of the most important festivals for the Muslim community. It marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan as well as the month-long fasting. Observed for 29-30 days, it started in India on 14 April.

The actual date of the festival varies as per the sighting of the moon. The crescent moon, which sets the exact date for Eid has not yet been seen in India. It is believed that this year it will be celebrated on May 13 or 14. The crescent moon of the month of Shawwal marks the end of Ramadan. The first day of Shawwal is celebrated as Eid-ul-Fitr. This festival is celebrated by Muslims across the globe. They wear new clothes on the day, offer prayers and enjoy feasts.

In India, the new moon is sighted generally a day after Saudi Arabia. While the West follows the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic calendar is lunar which means it is based on the sighting of the crescent moon. The ninth month in the Islamic Lunar Calendar is Ramadan and the tenth is Shawwal whose first day is marked as Eid-ul-Fitr.

India and other Asian subcontinents will try to sight the crescent moon on Wednesday (May 12) and depending upon it the festival would either be celebrated on May 13 or May 14.

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Eid-ul-Fitr History

It is believed that the festivities of Eid ul-Fitr began in the holy city of Medina after the migration of Mohammad Prophet from Mecca. He established that two holiest days for indulging in festivities have already been marked in the Quran by Allah called Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, thus the tradition of celebrating Eid came into existence.

Eid-ul-Fitr Significance 

Eid ul-Fitr signifies the breaking of fast and beginning the new month on a sweet note. During Ramadan, Muslims follow teachings of Allah sanctifying their souls of vices and other impurities. Many Muslims read the Quran during the month of Ramadan, thus Eid al-Fitr is a day of revelry and merriment after strict abstinence.

Eid-ul-Fitr Celebrations

The festivities begin with the early morning bath followed by the first prayer of the day called Salat al-Fazr or Morning Prayer. The whole family eats something sweet, traditionally dates and adorn themselves in new clothes and jewellery.  After the prayer, Eid greetings are exchanged as men, women, young and old donned in new clothes say Eid-Mubarak and embrace each other signifying love and mutual brotherhood.

Eidi, a sum of money is given to children as part of Eid gift. A special feast is prepared on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr. The main delicacy of Eid al-Fitr is Seviyan which is made by boiling wheat noodles with milk and is served hot or cold garnished with dried fruits. However, this year keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebrations will not be grand.

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