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Fasting, feasting

Fasting, feasting
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Like other festivals observed by the Muslim community, this festival symbolises faith. The festival is celebrated based on an Islamic belief by following the form of social practice.

Eid-ul-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy. During the festival, Muslims exchange gifts, greeting their neighbours as a mark of solidarity and brotherhood.

According to the Islamic tradition, there are two festivals observed by Muslims every year - Eid-ul-Fitr just after Ramzan and Eid-ul-Zuha in the month of Haj.

Ramzan, the month of fasting, symbolises a lot practices and beliefs of the community. It is not merely restraining oneself from having food but also to abstain from all kinds of evil and unlawful practices in Islam.

Muslims, just before the celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr, keep a month long fast throughout the month of Ramzan. The practice of fasting is also known as ‘roza’ that starts from the break of dawn till dusk and during this whole day an individual has to refrain himself from drinking, eating or having sexual intercourse. The term ‘roza’ us an Arabic word means abstinence. This year Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated on 29 July to mark the end of Ramzan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Eid-ul-Fitr has a particular Salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two Rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (Jama’at) and, has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying ‘Allahu Akbar’, literally ‘God is greatest’), three of them in the beginning of the first raka’ah and three of them just before Ruku’ in the second raka’ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. Other Sunni schools usually have twelve Takbirs, seven in the first, and five at the beginning of the second raka’ah. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard (obligatory), Mustahabb (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandoob (preferable).

Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat and fitra before offering the Eid prayers.
Many Muslims believe that fasting reminds a sense of responsibility within themselves. The month long fasting ends with the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr that symbolises a reward for their fasting. Muslims on this day wear their best clothes and offer ‘namaz’ a congregational prayer at masjids or mosques. After offering their prayers they exchange good wishes of the festival with their neighbours and other people. They also donate alms to the poor on the auspicious occasion.

The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr not only has religious essence but also carries a social connotation. Like other festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr is also observed with great enthusiasm. Delicious food and drinks are an indispensable part of the festivity. People decorate their houses and prepare luscious traditional sweets and cuisines to celebrate the festival. The most common recipe in this festival is the delicious mithi seviyan (Sweet Vermicelli) prepared from various healthy and mouth-watering ingredients.
Moreover, ahead the festival, the markets are filled with fascinating items in the shopping list for Eid.

Fancy and food items mostly dominate the festival and as the festival approaches excitement to celebrate gains momentum not only with Muslims but also with shopkeepers and traders doing a brisk business.

The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr is no-doubt perks up the spirit inherent in all the festivity. The significance of this festival is also interpreted as a good time to bring people together in harmony
and gratitude.
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