Eid-Ul-fitr is celebrated by Muslims around the world including Sri Lanka on the 1st day of “Sawwhal”, the 10th month in Islamic Calendar when they complete a month long fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan, which is the 9th month of Islamic Calendar.
The Eid is eagerly awaited by all Muslims, including men, women and children and celebrated at a grand manner with great joy and ritual. During the month of Ramadan, every member in a Muslim house wakes up early in the morning before 4 am, performs a special prayer called “Tahajjud” and has a meal called “Sahar” before the call for early morning prayer “Fajr”. Most of the Sri Lankan Muslims eat rice and curry for Sahar and begin the fast. The whole day is spent with a lot of good things like prayers, reciting the Holy Quran, helping poor Muslims financially and offering foods etc., for poor and relatives.
In Sri Lanka, the Government has allowed flexible working hours for Muslims who work in the Government Sector while all the Muslim schools are closed for holidays till the end of fasting. Every evening is very special and busy in all Muslim houses, mosques and business places with a lot of preparation for “Iftar” (breaking fast), and eagerly waiting for the call for the Evening (Maghrib) prayer to break the 14 hours long fasting. Special snacks and a kind of special soup called “Kanji” is prepared throughout the month for Iftar. “Iftar” has become an event where members of other religious communities also take part nowadays.
Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr festival where Muslims wake up early, have a bath, wear new clothes, and rush to mosque or a ground for Eid prayer. At the end of prayer, they exchange “Salaams” and hugs to each other as a blessing and gesture of happiness. The Eid day is also important to renew the family cohesion where the extended family units get-together, visit their parents and relatives, forgive & forget old ill feeling and quarrels and celebrate the Eid with sweet and spicy grand meals. Children become the happiest on Eid day as they receive “Festival Money” from their parents, grand-parents and relatives.