Eid al-Fitr, or lesser Eid, celebrates the breaking of the fasting during Ramadan. It is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal, which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. This year that will be around 5th July, depending on the sighting of the new moon.
To non-Muslims, the festival, which lasts between 1 and 3 days, is probably most noted for the feasting: lavish, rich foods are prepared and shared and fasting is not permitted on this day. Homes are decorated, gifts are given and family and friends are visited.
But the festival is not just about the food. Most Muslims will wake early and then go to the mosque, or to an agreed outdoor meeting place, where they pray together before the celebrations begin. Eid al-Fitr is a time for thanking Allah for giving them the strength to exercise self-control during Ramadan. It’s a time to forgiveness and putting differences aside, and it’s a time for remembering loved ones who are no longer here.