Exploring traditions from other cultures is one way to expand your family’s view of the world and cultivate a heart for the peoples that God loves. Learn about Eid al-Fitr (EED ahl-FI-ter), one of two official celebrations for Muslims all around the world.
Every year, Muslims look forward to Eid al-Fitr, the biggest holiday of the year. It is also known as the Festival of Sweets or the Festival of Breaking the Fast. This three-day Muslim celebration follows an entire month of fasting, going without food or water from sunrise to sunset. Most Muslims just call it Eid (eed). This year it begins on April 21. But wait! It can’t start officially until the religious leaders in Mecca, Saudi Arabia say that they see the new full moon.
Muslims eagerly anticipate Eid because it means the end of a month of feeling hungry and thirsty during the day, and taking long naps in the afternoon to make the days go by faster. They’ve prayed often, given money to the poor, and read through the Qu’ran (kuh-RAHN, Muslim holy book) for thirty days straight. The Eid holiday is extra special because it’s a reward for doing difficult things for a long time.
Wearing a brand new outfit is a must on Eid. Even Muslim families without much money will sacrifice or borrow money just to get one new set of clothing for each person to wear. New clothing symbolizes cleanliness and a desire to be honorable in the sight of their God, Allah. On Eid, our Muslim friends will love it if we notice and comment on their new clothes.
Muslims greet each other with “Eid Mubarak!” (eed MOO-bahr-aack) all during their celebration, which means “Have a blessed Eid!” You can greet them in this way, too. It’s similar to our saying, “Merry Christmas” to each other.
During the three-day celebration, Muslim families love to visit each others’ homes. They eat delicious desserts, give children gifts, and spend a lot of time laughing and talking long into the night. It’s important for them to visit all their close friends and relatives—and they would love for you to stop by for a quick impromptu visit, too.
Muslims will also gather together for special prayers of gratitude to Allah on the first morning of Eid. On the way to the mosque, they will eat something sweet, such as a date, and recite a special short prayer. Before Eid prayers, every Muslim also makes a donation to charity to help feed the poor. This is called Zakat al-Fitr (zah-KAHT ahl-FI-ter).
Now that you know more about Eid, you can pray for Muslims in specific ways that connect to parts of their celebration. From April 21-23, ask God for these things:
- sweets: that Muslims would taste and see that God is good (Psalm 34:8)
- new clothes: that Muslims would be clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10)
- giving to the poor: that Muslims would experience God’s care for them (Philippians 4:19)
- prayers of gratitude: that Muslims will one day be thankful for the greatest gift God wants to give them–a way to be with him, through Jesus Christ (John 14:6)
Muslims exchange greeting cards at Eid. Make an Eid card to give to your Muslim friends with a Bible verse on it. Parts of the Bible are also parts of their Holy Books. If you choose a verse from the Gospels (Injil in Arabic), the Psalms (Zabur in Arabic), or the first five books of the Old Testament (Tawrat in Arabic), they will love it. You will need:
-card stock or heavy paper
-crayons, markers, or paint/paintbrushes
- Fold the cardstock or paper in half. Write Eid Mubarak! on the front of your card.
- Choose a verse to write on the inside. Here are a few you can read to get ideas:
*Sweets: Psalm 34:8
*Wearing new clothes: Colossians 3:10-14
*Generosity to the poor: Deuteronomy 15:10
*Gratitude to God: Psalm 95:2 or 145:7
*Reward for hard work: Proverbs 22:29
- Draw or paint a picture that represents your verse. You could make it look like a
henna design if you want! (Just google “henna designs”.)
- Optional: If you choose the verse about God dressing us in brand new clothes, you could give the card a few days before Eid and enclose a gift card to a clothing store. Or if you choose the verse about giving to the poor, you could make a donation to a charity and include a message telling them that you made a donation in their family’s name.
- Optional: Ask your parents to post a picture of your cards on Facebook or Instagram, wishing their Muslim friends Eid Mubarak!, or ask them to text a picture to all their Muslim friends.
About the Author: Jeannie Marie grew up overseas, served internationals in the US, and moved with her family to an unreached people group in India. She is the author of Across the Street and Around the World, a global strategist, and an adventurous mother of four. You can connect with her @jeannie-marie.com