India - Eid ul Fiter

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Eid ul Fiter

In the month of October comes the great unifying festival of India Eid ul Fiter. It is an Islamic festival that is celebrated after a month long fasting by Muslims. However, on the day of Eid, there is no fasting. They are encouraged to take only light snacks like dates because their body has been fasting from dawn to dusk for the whole of previous month. It is celebrated after the new moon is sighted. According to the Islamic calendar, it falls on the tenth month.

The day starts early on Eid day for a Muslim family. In big mosques special prayers are held. All the Muslims come together for the prayers hence they are held at open places also like the stadium or a big ground. The duration of the prayers is not long. They are short and after the prayers there is a khutba. The sight of so many people praying together is beautiful. There are rows and rows of men kneeling together. They bend down together and again sit erect at the same together. It is as if thousands bulbs light up and go off at the same time.

The festivities start immediately after the prayers. People visit each others’ houses and greet each other with greetings of “Eid Mubarak”. It is peace time for the Muslims and people socialize and mix up with others after forgetting old disputes.

After a month of austerity and fasting there is happiness everywhere at the end of it. There are special religious significances to the joy which is prevalent in the air. Wearing new clothes, meeting friends and relatives, feasting and spending, all these always bring joyousness in ones life.

After the new moon is sighted Takbir is recited. This recitation goes on until the Eid prayer starts. Before the prayers begin, every Muslim must give alms to the needy for the month of Ramadan. It can be given anytime during the month of Ramadan.

After the prayer there is khutba and then dua asking forgiveness for the sins one may have committed. In the end it is customary to embrace the person who is sitting on your either sides. All friends and relatives are also embraced.

Women and children are given gifts and money called eidi. Old disputes are traditionally settled on this day. Women and girls paint their hands with henna and wear colorful glass bangles.

A special dish called savayya is prepared. It looks like fine noodles. The market place and other recreational areas are crowded with gaily dressed people and the whole atmosphere is that of joy and excitement. Muslims look forward to this festival with great eagerness.


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