Families observing the daily fast in Ramadan count up to the Eid al-Fitr celebrations at the end of the month.
At the end of Ramadan, Shawwal begins next month with Eid al-Fitr, which means the festival of breakfast.
It’s one of the biggest events on the Islamic calendar, but the dates vary every year, which means there is great anticipation and excitement about when it will take place.
Eid al-Fitr celebrations last for three days, and there are currently official holidays in Muslim-majority countries.
Saudi Arabia is expected to have four days of National Eid Day, while the country’s government offices will be closed for an additional five days.
It is not a public holiday in the UK, but schools may have a day off to observe religious principles.
Europe’s largest Eid celebrations take place in Birmingham with a record 140,000 attendees in 2018.
However, the massive gathering at Small Heath Park was canceled in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions.
And it won’t be allowed in 2021 either, said Green Lane Masjid and Community Center (GLMCC), one of the key organizers in the group of local mosques that hosted the big event.
Instead, six separate prayer meetings are being held at the GLMCC to prevent a huge gathering of thousands like in previous years.
Why is the Eid al-Fitr date changing?
The Islamic calendar – also known as the Hijri calendar – is based on the lunar cycle and consists of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days.
This lunar calendar is 10 to 11 days shorter than the solar-based Gregorian calendar, followed by much of the western world.
This means that the Islamic dates go back 10 to 11 days in every regular western year. There will even be two Ramadans in one year by 2030.
When is the Eid Moon seen?
The Muslim months last 29 or 30 days. If the first faint crescent of the new moon cannot be seen on the 29th day, the existing month will last for another day.
On the Ramadan schedule of the Green Lane Masjid and Community Center (GLMCC) in Birmingham, Tuesday, May 11th is the 29th day and Wednesday, May 12th is the 30th day.
Ramadan ends on each of these days, depending on a verified moon sighting, with an oath on May 12th or 13th. Islamic Relief UK works on the same calendar.
The United Kingdom astronomical predictions suggest that there are no likely worldwide sightings of the first crescent of the new moon on May 11th.
Telescopic sighting is possible on Wednesday May 12th from parts of the Middle East.
While some communities are following announcements from Saudi Arabia, others are looking for moon sightings in the UK or Morocco and expect Eid al-Fitr to fall on May 13th or 14th.
So it could be a different day for some communities and countries, as is always the case with Islamic dates.
Saudi Arabia’s Umm al-Qura calendar predicts Eid al-Fitr will fall on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
GLMCC is among those following the Saudi announcements.
1. Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important Muslim festivals in the Islamic calendar and marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. It’s early next month, Shawwal.
2nd Celebrate Eid, the one-day celebration of Eid al-Fitr at Small Heath Park in Birmingham sees up to 140,000 Muslims in a single parish – but that event couldn’t happen during the coronavirus pandemic
3. Islamic religious festivals are based on the lunar cycle. This is different from the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the sun and used by most western countries.
4. Eid, which means “Feast of the Breaking of the Fast”, is a religious holiday and day of celebration when Muslims thank Allah and exchange small gifts and cards.
5. People usually dress in new clothes or in their most beautiful outfits for the day.
6. Eid al-Fitr begins on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month on the lunar calendar, but usually lasts three days. Muslims can choose to fast for an additional six days in this new month – these do not have to be consecutive. Anyone who accomplishes this should have completed the fast all year round. This is because Islamic tradition says that a good deed is rewarded ten times – the conclusion of Ramadan and the six days during Shawwal, ten times, make up a year.
7. Charity is an important part of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. These are usually food donations to the poor so that they too can enjoy Eid celebrations.