Eid is an Islamic festival that has been celebrated ever since it was founded by Muhammad the Prophet in 624 CE. We tend to think of Eid as one celebration, but it is an umbrella term for two religious events that follow Ramadan.

These smaller festivals are known as ‘Eid al-Fitr’ and ‘Eid al-Adha.’ People often couple these Eid holidays together to make things easier and refer to them simply as ‘Eid.’ However, they are both different in their own right and are observed to fulfill Islamic traditions.

The Eid holidays are the only two consistently celebrated by the world’s population of 1.6 billion Muslims. This makes Eid one of the most important holidays in the Islamic faith.

In 2022, the first of the two Eid holidays, Eid al-Fitr, will begin in the evening on May 2nd and last for around twenty-four hours. On the other hand, Eid al-Adha isn’t celebrated until a couple of months later and will begin this year on July 9th, lasting for four days.

The Different Types Of Eid Holidays

As mentioned above, ‘Eid’ is more of a general term that refers to both of the Eid holidays that Muslims celebrate. The two individual Eid holidays are as follows:

  • Eid al-Fitr: Marks the end of fasting during Ramadan.
  • Eid al-Adha: Commemorates the Hajj, which is the pilgrimage made by many Muslims to Mecca.

You can click on the links to other Twinkl Teaching Wiki guides about these Eid holidays. You’ll find plenty of information on these pages that go into more detail about each Eid holiday celebration.

Who celebrates the Eid holidays?

Seeing as Eid is an Islamic festival, Muslims celebrate the Eid holidays. Significantly, the Eid holidays are the only religious celebrations that unite all of the different sects of Islam. This makes the Eid holidays the most widely celebrated within the religion and is observed in various countries, from Turkey to Iceland!

The Story Behind The Eid Holidays

Now that you know about the basics of the Eid holidays, it’s time to delve a bit deeper into the back story of these religious festivals.

While the Eid holidays originated from the Prophet Muhammad, the story behind Eid is actually about another prophet: Ibrahim.

As the story goes, Ibrahim heard the voice of Allah through a dream, telling him to sacrifice his son as a sign of faithfulness. Ibrahim was hesitant to do as Allah said because he loved his son very much. Yet, despite this and disloyal urges from the devil, Ibrahim prepared to do as Allah asked him.

Just before Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, he heard Allah’s voice again. This time, he was told not to sacrifice his son but instead a Ram. Ibrahim ultimately won favor because he had shown trust in Allah.

The story behind the Eid holidays is all about sacrifice, as shown by Ibrahim’s intentions. The idea of sacrifice is symbolized in the festival of Ramadan, which immediately precedes Eid. ‘Eid,’ in Arabic, means ‘festival’ or ‘feast,’ referring to the festivities following the sacrificial fasting in Ramadan.

How are the Eid holidays celebrated?

We’ve spoken a bit about the sacrificial origins of Eid, and the festival today is an all-out celebration of a sacrifice having been accomplished. This is particularly true of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan. This day typically begins with prayers in the morning, followed by a gathering of loved ones, where gifts are exchanged and delicious food is eaten.

Eid al-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid, is the Eid holiday associated most closely with the story of the Prophet Ibrahim, as detailed above. Some families choose to slaughter a goat or sheep, although this must be done ethically and professionally. After attending the Mosque, they later share the meat as a meal. Often, a share of the meat is donated to the poor so they can celebrate. It is also expected that Muslims donate to charities that help people in need to celebrate the Eid holidays.

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