Millions of Muslims across the UK will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr today (2 May), marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Special prayers will be taking place aross many areas followed by visits to relatives and friends to wish them a happy Eid and often exchange gifts or sweets.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr is extra special this year because it is the first in two years where celebrations will take place without any Covid restrictions.
The Islamic month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims across the world fast for 30 days.
The date of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar varies every year, as the calendar is based on the lunar cycle. As a result, Ramadan travels through the seasons of the Gregorian calendar.
The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid al-Fitr, when Muslims gather to give their thanks to God for a successful month.
Here’s everything you need to know about Ramadan.
What is happening today?
To start off the celebrations, special prayers will be taking place across many areas in the UK including outside spaces such as Platt Fields Park and mosques.
Manchester Evening News has reported that thousands of people have gathered at Platt Fields Park in a “massive turnout”.
Eid is one of two major holidays celebrated by Muslims all over the globe, because of this it holds a lot of importance for observers.
Eid prayers traditionally begin at sunset on the night the crescent moon is first sighted.
But many mosques will offer to do Eid prayers the following morning.
Once prayers are finished, Muslims will visit their relatives and friends to wish them a happy Eid and often exchange gifts or sweets.
When does Ramadan start and end?
Ramadan began for some Muslims on 2 April 2022, and for others the following date, on 3 April 2022. The Islamic holy month begins when a crescent moon is spotted in the sky, which leaves room for different sects to begin on different nights.
In the Islamic calendar, days begin after sunset, and end on the following sunset.
As Ramadan follows the lunar cycle, it lasts 29-30 days, depending on when the next crescent moon is seen. The information of important dates, such as the start of Ramadan, or when Eid commences, is usually given by countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran whose main faith across the nation is Islam.
Saudi Arabia is particularly revered as it is often considered to be Islam’s heartland, as it is home to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.
Since the start date of Ramadan was 2 or 3 April, it’s likely the fasting season will end on 2 May 2022.
However, this date is subject to change depending on when Eid is announced, but it is very rare for Ramadan to exceed 30 days.
What is the date of Eid?
Eid al-Fitr, meaning Feast of Breaking the Fast in English, marks the end of the Islamic holy month.
It is celebrated on the first day of the following Islamic month Shawwal. In the Gregorian calendar, Eid shifts up by 10-11 days.
As Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it will be celebrated in early May, and festivities usually lasts for three days. The exact date will be confirmed on the sighting of the moon, but Eid will be no later than 3 May 2022.
Eid is celebrated with vigour, as food and family become central themes, acting as a continuation of Ramadan.
For this reason, Eid al-Fitr is also known as Sweet Eid or Sugar Feast for its emphasis on sweet food in times of celebration.
It is forbidden to pray on this joyous festival, as Eid is a time for celebration.
How do you wish someone a Happy Ramadan/Eid?
In the earlier days of Ramadan, many Muslims say Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem, which means ‘may you have a blessed Ramadan’.
When Eid arrives, you can wish someone a Happy Eid, by saying Eid Mubarak, which means Blessed Festival. This phrase can be used for both Eid’s and in general, as Mubarak is a term of celebration.
NationalWorld wrote a handy explainer on how to wish someone Ramadan Mubarak.