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Muslims perform the Eid Al-Adha prayer at Eyup Sultan Mosque 2019-08-11 09

Muslims perform the Eid Al-Adha prayer at Eyup Sultan Mosque 2019-08-11. Attribution: Mehr News Agency, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

June 22, 2023

5 Facts to Know About the Muslim Holiday Eid

Eid has been a time of celebration and joy. But what exactly is Eid? And why do Muslims around the world — celebrate it?


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By Fariya Farah, college senior and NewsHour Classroom summer intern

As a Muslim Bengali-American, I grew up celebrating Eid, a major holiday in the Islamic faith.

The next Eid, Eid al-Adha, is expected to begin at sunset on June 28, 2023.

To me, Eid was a time of year full of festivities — my mom would adorn my hands with henna; my sister and I would buy new salwar kameez to wear and my brother and I would wake up early to eat my mom’s homemade sweets.

But Eid was also a time to spend with friends and family. My parents were the first to leave their families and immigrate to New York from Bangladesh in the 1990s. And because they missed home and struggled to navigate a foreign country and culture, they formed strong connections with other Bengali immigrants in their neighborhood.

Today, these are the people who have become my family. On Eid, my family and I visit everyone’s homes in our tight-knit community.

And so, Eid has been a time of celebration and joy. But what exactly is Eid? And why do I — and other Muslims around the world — celebrate it?

1. There are two Eids: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha

Eid al-Fitr is a three-day holiday that ends the Islamic month of Ramadan. Known as the “Festival of breaking fast,” Muslims will celebrate with family and food after the end of a long fast, joining with one another for prayer and other traditions.

On the other hand, Eid al-Adha is a yearly four-day celebration of the Islamic faith remembering the story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice Ismail as an act of obedience to God. Before he could carry out the sacrifice, God provided a ram as an offering. In the Christian and Jewish telling, Abraham is ordered to kill another son, Isaac. Known as the feast of sacrifice, the celebration centers around sacrifice to Allah.

Every year, millions of Muslims make a sacred pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca, a site in Saudi Arabia that is considered holy to those who practice Islam. Eid Al-Adha occurs at the end of this pilgrimage when Muslims climb Mount Arafat to ask forgiveness from God for their sins.

2. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are celebrated on a different day each year

The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, meaning that the months are determined by the phases of the moon. For example, the start of each month depends on the sighting of the new moon.

Muslims are not able to confirm the date of Eid until the necessary moon sightings. As of right now, Eid al-Adha is expected to begin at sunset on June 28, 2023.

The lunar calendar is approximately 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, which means that the dates of Islamic months, including Ramadan and Eid, shift by about 11 days each year.

Thus, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha generally occur about a week earlier than they had the year before.

3. During Eid, Muslims give alms to the poor

When celebrating Eid al-Fitr, Muslim communities often collect money to give to the poor. This special gift is called Zakat al-Fitr. The gift represents thankfulness to God for helping Muslims complete their fast during Ramadan.

Likewise, on Eid al-Adha Muslims sacrifice sheep, goats, cows or buffalo and share the meat with their family and those in need. At least one-third of the meat from the animal must go to poor or vulnerable people. Traditionally, a Muslim would keep one-third of the meat for their family and give the remaining third to their neighbors.

4. Different cultures celebrate in different ways

There is a rich diversity within the global Muslim community; Muslims come from different backgrounds, cultures, and interpretations of the Qur’an. As a result, there are a bunch of different ways that Muslims may celebrate Eid, though all of them emphasize the importance of family and community.

Homemade Cookies in Preparations for Eid al-Adha
Homemade Cookies in Preparations for Eid al-Adha. Attribution: Lehava Activity 2012 Pikiwiki Israel, CC BY 2.5 <;, via Wikimedia Commons.

For example, in Turkey, Muslims have a Şeker Bayram, or “sugar feast,” with dates, baklava and other sweet treats to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. In India, people perform balancing acts and other live performances in the street.

5. Eid Mubarak!

When celebrating Eid, Muslims greet one another with the phrase “Eid Mubarak.” This means “blessed celebration,” or in other words, “happy holiday!” Non-muslims can greet Muslims with “Eid Mubarak” as well.

Additional resources

See how Eid al-Fitr is celebrated in a New Jersey community.

Learn More about Eid al-Fitr in our About the Holidays series.

Learn More about Eid al-Adha in our About the Holidays series.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do people think of those who are less fortunate during a religious holiday?
  2. Would you ever give up something important to you for the sake of a stranger?
  3. During Eid al-Fitr, many Muslims wear their best clothes and eat special foods. Do you celebrate any holidays in the same way?
  4. How do Muslims try to make Eid memorable?

Celebrating Eid

I have always loved Eid. Growing up in a Bengali enclave in New York City, I looked forward to seeing our community light up with conversations, friends, family and neighbors two times each year.

The author and her family celebrating Eid al-Adha in 2020. Courtesy of Fariya Farah
The author and her family celebrating Eid al-Adha in 2020. Courtesy of Fariya Farah.

And so, I am always looking forward to saying “Eid Mubarak!”

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

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