Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, and the U.S. alone is home to some 3.5 million Muslims. Eid al Fitr is one of the major holidays celebrated in Islam. Its date is determined by a fully lunar calendar called the Hijri calendar or Islamic calendar.
In the Hijri calendar, there are 12 months per year, each determined by the phases of the moon. In a fully lunar calendar, there are approximately 11 days less than a solar year. For this reason, the date for Eid al Fitr on a solar calendar appears to change every year, occurring 10–11 days earlier each time. But on the Islamic calendar, the date for Eid al Fitr is always consistent.
In a lunar Islamic month, each month has either 29 or 30 days, though scientifically each month has a mean period of 29.53059 days. For this reason, on the 29th night of Ramadan, Muslims carry out a tradition called "moon sighting." The moon is sighted with the naked eye, and if the new moon appears, it means the next day Eid al Fitr should be celebrated. If no moon is visible to the naked eye, Ramadan completes 30 days, and Eid al Fitr is celebrated after the 30 days. With today’s science and technology, astronomical calculations also tell us when the new moon appears, signalling a fresh month, though some people prefer to keep the tradition of moon sighting alive.
When is Eid al-Fitr in 2024?
Eid al-Fitr always takes place on the first day of Shawwal, which is the name of the tenth month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated until Shawwal 3rd. So, Eid al-Fitr always takes place 10/1–10/3 of the Hijri calendar.
When corresponded to the Gregorian solar calendar, Eid al-Fitr is expected to begin Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in North America. It’s a three-day holiday, running until Friday, April 12, 2024 (inclusive).
Why does Eid al-Fitr's date change each year?
On the lunar Hijri calendar, the date is the same each year. It’s only on the Gregorian solar calendar that Eid al-Fitr is celebrated approximately 10-11 days earlier than the previous year. This makes it "a movable feast."
Why is Eid al-Fitr celebrated?
Eid al Fitr is celebrated to express joy at the completion of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which fasting is obligatory for able, qualifying Muslims. In fact, fasting in Ramadan is one of the five key pillars of Islam.
Ramadan is also known as the month of mercy. This is because Muslims believe in a merit system of “you get what you earn”. They believe there will come a day called the Day of Judgement, where each person’s intentions and actions will be weighed on a scale. If a person has more good intentions and good actions than they do sins, the person will enter Paradise. In this way, Muslims believe each person is responsible for their own salvation.
In Ramadan, good deeds are multiplied by God for a greater reward. For this reason, Ramadan is an opportunity to earn more rewards with the same amount of effort — like a bonus earning period. Eid al Fitr is a time of gratitude for having experienced Ramadan, a month of mercy, and racking up more rewards than would be possible without it. Culturally, it’s important to note that Eid al Fitr is a major holiday and a federal day off in many Muslim majority countries. Like any other holiday, it’s a time for relaxing, enjoying the company of family and friends and enjoying traditional holiday foods such as Eid sweets.
When will Eid al-Fitr be in upcoming years?
Eid al-Fitr on the solar calendar takes place about 10-11 days earlier every subsequent year. This means that the first day of Eid al-Fitr in future years is expected to be:
Monday, March 31, 2025
Friday, March 20, 2026
Wednesday, March 10, 2027
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