Eid Festivals: All You Need to Know

Whether you live in an Islamic country or you have Muslim friends, you may have heard about Eid festivals. In this article, you’ll learn what Eid is and when and why it’s celebrated. I’ll also teach you some nice Eid wishes and share my favorite Eid gift ideas with you.

What is Eid?

Let’s start with the basics. What is Eid in simple words? Eid is a religious festival which Muslims all over the world celebrate. Literally translated, Eid means festival or feast in Arabic. In fact, there’s not just one, but two Eid festivals a year.

  • Eid al Fitr = Feast of breaking the fast
  • Eid al Adha = Feast of the sacrifice

Both Eid festivals are based on a very different story. Therefore, their celebration is not the same. Let’s have a look at what each type of Eid means and how they are celebrated.

Eid al Fitr

Eid al Fitr is the Eid celebration that proceeds Ramadan. Ramadan is the holy month in Islam during which Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during daytime and dedicate their time to prayers, self-reflection and the community.

Eid al Fitr is thus the celebration that marks the end of the fasting month Ramadan. It usually lasts two days.

When is Eid al Fitr celebrated?

The date of Eid al Fitr is based on the Islamic calendar. It takes place on the 1st of the 10th month, known as Shawwal. The Islamic calendar consists of 12 lunar months and a total of 354 days. It’s shorter than the Gregorian calendar (365 days). For this reason, the date of Eid al Fitr varies from year to year, comparable to the Christian Easter which is also based on a lunar calendar.

The expected dates for Eid al Fitr are:

  • Eid al Fitr 2021: Wednesday, 12th May to Thursday, 13th May 2021
  • Eid al Fitr 2022: Monday, 2th May to Tuesday, 3rd May 2022
  • Eid al Fitr 2023: Friday, 21st April to Saturday, 22nd April 2023

How is Eid al Fitr celebrated?

Gifts are an important part of Eid al Fitr. In many countries, you’ll find special offers prior to Eid and most families will head do some Eid shopping (on a local market or online).

On the days of the Eid festival itself, most men will head to the mosque in the morning where special Eid prayers are held. After that, families will share an abundant breakfast, followed by visiting relatives. In countries like Jordan, people serve delicacies such as dates and other sweets to guests, along with Arabic tea and coffee.

Another important element of Eid al Fitr are donations, known as zakat. Donations are made to help the poor and the community. Donations are a religious obligation expected from any Muslim adult who can afford it (who possesses enough food).

Eid al Adha

The second major Eid festival is the Eid al Adha. While it’s less known by non-Muslims, it’s an important event in Islam. Eid al Adha takes place at the end of the pilgrimage month known as hajj. The pilgrimage to Mecca (Saudi Arabia) is required by every Muslim once in a lifetime (provided that they can afford it) and has to be done during this specific time of the year. Besides, Eid al Adha is a reminder to the story of the prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), who was ready to sacrifice his son to God.

Eid al Adha is thus the festival that marks the end of the pilgrimage month and recalls the story of Ibrahim (pbuh). It lasts 4 days.

When is Eid al Adha celebrated?

The date of Eid al Adha is also based on the Islamic calendar. It takes place on the 10th day of the 12th month (Dhu al-hijjah) of the Islamic lunar calendar.

The expected dates for Eid al Adha are:

  • Eid al Adha 2021: Monday, 19th July to Friday, 23rd July 2021
  • Eid al Adha 2022: Saturday, 9th July to Wednesday, 13th July 2021
  • Eid al Adha 2023: Wednesday, 28th June to Sunday, 2nd July 2021

How is Eid al Adha celebrated?

Same as for Eid al Fitr, prayers are an important part of Eid al Adha. Same goes for visiting relatives and friends and exchanging gifts.

The tradition of Eid al Adha also involves the sacrifice of an animal, typically a lamb or a goat. This sacrifice is mandatory for those who can afford it and is made in honour of prophet Ibrahim who was willing to sacrifice his son to God. The meat is shared equally among relatives, friends and the poor. Eid al Adha is an important reminder for Muslims of obedience to God.

Eid Wishes

Naturally, Eid festivals are an important part in any Muslim’s life. It’s very common to wish family members, friends, colleagues and even strangers a happy Eid! Whether you’re a muslim yourself or not, wishing someone a happy Eid is a great idea and will surely make the other person happy. Below are some common Eid wishes.

English EquivalentArabic (Latin Script)Arabic (Arabic Script)
Happy Eid (gen.)eid mubarakعيد مبارك
Happy Eid al Fitreid al fitr mubarakعيد الفطر مبارك
Happy Eid al Adhaeid al adha mubarakعيد أضحى مبارك
Happy Holidays (gen.)yena’ad aleikum bel seha wa al afeyaينعاد عليكم بالصحة والعافية

Eid Gifts

Gift giving is an important part of Eid celebrations. Below are some Eid gift ideas for kids, friends, parents, your husband or wife.