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Definition: Eid ul-Fitr from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Muslim festival celebrating the end of Ramadan, the month of sawm (fasting).

Summary Article: Id al-Fitr (Eid)
From Cultural Studies: Holidays Around the World

Also known as the Feast of Fast-Breaking, or the Lesser Feast, Id al-Fitr marks the end of the month-long fast of RAMADAN and the beginning of a three-day feast. It is the second most important Islamic holiday after ID AL-ADHA.

The Id prayer is performed by the whole community at an outdoor prayer ground (musalla) or mosque. Then people put on new clothes, children are given presents, and everyone visits relatives and friends. It is the time when everyone asks pardon for all the wrongs of the past year. Village squares have carnival rides, puppet shows, and candy vendors.

It is called Lebaran or Hari Raya by Indonesians, Thais, and Malaysians. In Turkey, where it is called the Candy Festival, or Seker Bayrami, this is the day on which children are given candy or money wrapped in handkerchiefs. In Pakistan the special treat associated with this day is saween, a spaghetti cooked in milk and sugar, and sprinkled with almonds, pistachios, and dates.

In Malaya, where it is called Hari Raya, they hold open houses. It is the new custom to have one's non-Muslim friends visit to foster more understanding between different religious groups. Muslims in turn will visit Chinese friends during LUNAR NEW YEAR, Hindus during DEWALI, and Christians at CHRISTMAS.

In West Africa, a Mande feast of the virgins has been added to this feast. In western Guinea, young men and women parade all night with floats of animals and boats, singing and dancing; small children sing for presents.


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