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Eid al-Fitr 2019: Everything you need to know

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As Muslims around the world bid Ramadan farewell, they also prepare for Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the Muslim holy month.

Depending on the sighting of the moon, Eid celebrations will begin either on Tuesday (June 4) or Wednesday (June 5).

What is Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

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Traditionally, Eid is celebrated for three days as an official holiday in all Muslim-majority countries. However, the number of vacation days varies by country.

How is the start of Eid determined?

Like Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr begins with the first sighting of the new moon, so usually Muslims have to wait until the night before Eid to verify its date.

If the new moon is not visible, the month lasts 30 days.

Because it is a lunar occurrence, the date of Eid changes annually on the Gregorian calendar and varies from country to country depending on geographical location.

To declare the start of Eid, Muslim-majority countries depend on the testimonies of local moon sighters. The Judicial High Court then decides if Eid has arrived.

When the sighting has been verified, Eid is declared on televisions, radio stations and at mosques.

How do Muslims celebrate Eid?

Muslims across the world begin Eid celebrations by partaking in communal dawn prayers, followed by a short sermon.

While in some countries the prayers take place in mosques or large halls, in many countries it is also held in the open.

People congratulate one another as they head home after Eid prayers. They spend the day visiting relatives and neighbours and accepting sweets as they move around from house to house. Children, dressed in new clothes, are offered gifts and money to celebrate the joyous occasion.

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