When is Eid 2021? When Ramadan ends, Eid al-Fitr date – and when the new moon will be spotted in Saudi Arabia

Muslims celebrate two Eids every year - Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Fitr is the breaking of fast after the month of Ramadan, families also come together to pray and share celebratory food (Picture: Shutterstock)
Eid al-Fitr is the breaking of fast after the month of Ramadan, families also come together to pray and share celebratory food (Picture: Shutterstock)

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan - during which Muslims focus on prayer and fasting - is due to come to an end, as preparations get under way for the celebration of Eid.

Eid, shortened from Eid Al-Fitr, is the "festival of breaking the fast", and sees families and congregations come together to eat and pray.

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So, when will Eid be celebrated and what is the origin of the festival?

When is Eid al-Fitr 2021?

In the UK, Eid is expected to begin on the evening of 13 May, but the exact date is decided by the first sighting of the new moon (the Shawwal moon), so it can vary around the world.

Muslims who are participating in the fast will continue to fast throughout the daylight hours of 13 May, with the breaking of the final day of fasting signalling the beginning of Eid.

The new moon was expected on the evening of 11 May, but Saudi Arabia – the country which many Muslims follow Eid guidance from – has not spotted the new moon and so it is anticipated that it will be sighted on 12 May, signalling the beginning of the Eid.

Muslims in the UK should check with their local Mosque as to which sighting around the world determines the beginning of their Eid, Birmingham-based Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre (GLMCC) announced to its congregation: ‘The New Moon of Shawwal has NOT been sighted therefore Eid will be celebrated on Thursday, May 13 2021.”

What is Eid al-Fitr a celebration of?

Eid al-Fitr is the breaking of the final fast, celebrated at the end of a month-long dawn-to-dusk fasting period.

Almost all Muslims who have experienced puberty will take part, except from very old or sick people and menstruating or pregnant women.

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of the Islamic Holy month as this is said to be the month in which prophet Muhammad got the first revelation of the Holy Quran.

The Quran is the central religious text of Islam, and is believed to hold revelations from Allah (God). The book is said to be the literal word of God, told through Mohammad and the words on which Muslim beliefs are founded.

Why are there two Eids each year?

The dates of Eid can often be confusing as the Muslim religion celebrates two Eids each year.

Eid Al-Fitr is the first, and comes at the end of the month of Ramadan.

Eid al-Adha is almost exactly two months later - this year it will take place in mid-July, andis the “feast of the sacrifice”.

It comes at the same time as many Muslims complete the Hajj pilgrimage.

Also known as the pilgrimage to Mecca, all Muslims are supposed to complete it at least once in their lifetime.

Eid al-Adha is said to be the most important, and sometimes referred to as ‘Big Eid’, while Eid al-Fitr is the lesser of the two.

How do Muslims celebrate Eid?

Both celebrations of Eid consist of families and congregations coming together to pray and enjoy food together.

During Eid al-Fitr, many Muslims will attend communal prayers at their local Mosque. In places such as Mecca, Saudi Arabia and other predominantly Islamic countries, thousands of people come together to pray.

At the prayers, they listen to the Khutba - a sermon - and give zakat al-Fitr charity in the form of food.

During Eid, some Muslims will also dress in fine clothing and bright colours. Children also receive gifts during the day of Eid al-Fitr.

Muslims also wish one another ‘Eid Mubarak’, literally meaning Blessed celebration.

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