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When is Eid al-Fitr in 2024 expected and why are there two Eids?

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Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan each year on a different date (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

This week, Ramadan 2024 will come to end, and Muslims will end their period of fasting.

Ramadan – held in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar – began this year on Sunday, March 10, and is a time when Muslims observe the prophet Muhammad’s first revelation, avoiding food and drink from dawn to sunset and devoting time to prayer and acts of charity.

At the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr then takes place; the ‘Holiday of Breaking the Fast’.

This celebration is marked by up to three days of special prayers, acts of charity (Zakat al-Fitr) and plenty of food and drink. Some Muslims also decorate their home for the occasion and host get-togethers with their loved ones.

However, the date when Eid al-Fitr begins changes year to year. And there are also two different celebrations often referred to as Eid.

Here, we explain the difference between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, as well as the date you can expect Eid al-Fitr to begin this year.

Food and drink are a big part of the annual festival (Picture: Getty Images)

When is Eid al-Fitr in 2024?

The Islamic (Hijri) calendar is based on lunar months, meaning the timing of festivals like Ramadan are determined by the sighting of a New Moon by religious authorities.

This year, Eid al-Fitr is expected to begin on Tuesday, April 9 or Wednesday, April 10, marking the start of the month of Shawwal.

The celebration begins at sunset on the night of the first sighting of the crescent moon, known as the Chand Raat.

Yet because the New Moon may be sighted in different areas earlier or later, it may fall on earlier or later across parts of the world.

The Islamic calendar uses lunar months (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Why are there two Eids?

In the Islamic calendar, Eid occurs twice a year – this is because ‘Eid’ is just the word to describe a Muslim festival.

Eid al-Fitr is the first and smallest of the two occasions. According to Islamic tradition, it was originated by the prophet Muhammed after he migrated from Mecca to Medina and found that people there celebrated two specific dates.

This commemorates the end of Ramadan, when Muslims aim to become closer to Allah through abstinence, and since they have been fasting during daylight hours throughout this month, is marked with sweet dishes and foods.

Later in the year, Eid al-Adha occurs. Literally translated, it means ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, this holiday honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail in God’s name.

God gave Ibrahim a lamb to kill in place of his son due to his willingness to sacrifice him, therefore during Eid al-Adha, animals are ritually sacrificed.

Part of the meat from the animal is eaten by the family who offered it and the rest is given to the poor.

Eid al-Adha is a four-day celebration that falls on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijja – the 12th month in the Hijri calendar. Alongside the tradition of eating meat, prayers are offered, sweets and gifts are exchanged and families come together in their finest clothes.

Eid al-Adha is expected to fall around June 16 in 2024.

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