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Ramzan eid : Eid ul Fitr , Information about Ramzan

Eid ul Fitr or the 'festival of fast breaking' is the most celebratory of all Muslim festivals. The term 'Eid' has been derived from the Arabic word 'oud', which means 'the return' and hence, signifies the return of the festival each year. The festival is significant as much for its timing, as for its religious implications. It is celebrated after the long fasting month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar), on the first day of the Shawwal month of the Hijri year (Islamic calendar). Legend says that the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Mohammed in the last ten days of Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan is historically associated with two important victories of Prophet Muhammad - the battle of Badr and the conquest of Makkah. Fasting during the month of Ramadan, according to Islamic beliefs, helps in developing self-control and is a way of getting closer to Allah. The festival of Eid ul Fitr marks the beginning of celebrations and merriment for a period extending over three days. Women prepare sweets at home and all Muslims are seen adorned with new dresses on this day. Eid ul Fitr is synonymous with joy and thanksgiving. Such is the spirit of this great festival that even a lot of Non-Muslims participate in Eid celebrations in India.

India is the second most populous Islamic nation in the world. Muslims form India's largest minority and constitute almost 12% of the country's total population. Islam is also the most recent religion added to India's already potent cultural concoction. Islam came to India in 12th century AD and began interacting with the Indian culture, particularly under the Mughal era. Needless to say, it was a mutually enriching experience. A majority of Indian Muslims reside in the north, but a significant number is found all across the country. Hence, their traditions add yet another dimension to the vast cultural landscape of India.

What do people do? India's Eid-ul-Fitar festival starts on the first day of the month of Shawwal (or Shawwl). Many Muslims attend communal prayers and listen to a sermon at Eid al-Fitr. Those have not given the charity known as zakat al-fitr during Ramadan do so during Eid al-Fitr. Zakat al-fitr consisting of a quantity of food, such as barley, dates, raisins or wheat flour, or its monetary equivalent given to poor people in the community. It is common for Islamic communities organize communal meals. Many Muslims in India also wear new clothes, visit family members, exchange Eid cards and give presents of sweets and small toys to children.
 
Public life : National, state and local government offices, post offices and banks are closed. Islamic stores, businesses and other organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours. Those wishing to use public transport on the day may need to contact the local transport authorities to check on timetables. Large prayer meetings, parades and marches may cause local delays to traffic, particularly in areas with a predominantly Muslim population and areas that are close to large mosques.

Eid ul Fitr 2012: 19 August.

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