Feast of Breaking the Fast

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Festival of the breaking of the fast in Tajikistan

The Feast of the Breaking of the Fast or Eid al-Fitr ( Arabic عيد الفطر, DMG ʿĪd al-Fiṭr ) is an Islamic festival immediately following the fasting month of Ramadan in the first three days of the following month, Schauwāl . There are differences in the type of festival depending on the country and region. The highlight of the festival is the first day, which begins with the sighting of the new light after the new moon .


In some Islamic countries, the festival is also called "Little Festival" ( al-ʿīd aṣ-suġaiyar in Egypt, Küçük bayram in Turkey, idi ndogo in Swahili ). In Turkish, the festival is called "Ramadan Festival" (Ramazan Bayramı) or "Sugar Festival " (Şeker Bayramı) . In Kurdish it becomes Remezan (Kurmancî) or the same as Soranî ڕەمەزان called.

In the Malay- speaking area it is called "Great Day of Breaking the Fast " (Hari Raya Aidilfitri) or "Great Day [after] the fast" (Hari Raya Puasa) , in Indonesia it is also called Lebaran or based on the Arabic term Idul Fitri . In Mali and Senegal, the festival is called Korité .


Since Muslims do not use the Gregorian calendar as a basis for their religious festivals , but rather the lunar calendar , the Islamic festival year does not have 365, but 354 days. As a result, the feast of the breaking of the fast, like the other Islamic feasts , is shifted forward by eleven days each year compared to the solar calendar, i.e. it is celebrated earlier each year, ten or twelve days in leap years (depending on the calendar).

In 2015, the festival began on July 17th according to the Gregorian calendar . In 2016 it was celebrated from July 5th to 7th, 2017 from June 25th to 27th and 2018 from June 15th to 17th. In 2019, Ramadan fell on June 4th to 6th, in 2020 on May 24th to 26th and in 2021 on May 13th to 15th.

Because the date of the festival is traditionally determined after the moon sighting, there have always been inconsistent dates in the past. In 2006, for example, the festival in Germany was largely fixed on October 24th, while in many Islamic countries or countries with a Muslim minority it was celebrated on October 23rd. In Germany, the determination of the festival date was even handled differently from municipality to municipality until 2007. As part of the Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany , the major Islamic associations in Germany agreed for the first time on a uniform calculation method for Ramadan and thus also the Ramadan festival for 2008. However, this does not apply to the members of the Islamic reform community Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Germany, for whom Ramadan generally begins and ends one day later than for the majority of Muslims, so that for the Ahmadiyya members the festival of breaking the fast ( Urdu : Eid- ul-Fitr) takes place one day later.



Preparations for the festival begin as early as the last days of Ramadan, when most Muslims buy or prepare large quantities of sweets and other specialties for the festival. Textile and shoe retailers hold a sort of sale called obral lebaran during the last two weeks of Ramadan . The house is also completely tidied up and cleaned during this time.

Even before the festival, many Muslims go back to their homeland to celebrate the festivities together with their parents and relatives. In Malaysia and Indonesia this exodus, called balik kampung (“back to the village”), pulang kampung (“ coming home to the village”) or mudik (“ going home”), leads to major transport problems and many road casualties every year.

Before the end of the month of Ramadan, at the latest on the morning before the festive prayer, the “fast-breaking zakāt ” ( zakāt al-fitr ) has to be paid. It is considered a gift of purification with which believers can cleanse themselves from their sins and is intended for the poor. It consists of a gift of basic foodstuffs (grain, dates, raisins, dairy products, rice) with the volume of one Sāʿ and is incumbent on all male and female Muslims, which they do not only for themselves, but for all people who benefit from them financially are dependent, have to muster. In Indonesia in the 1970s it consisted of 3½ liters of rice and was collected by the "Organization of Zakāt Collectors, Voluntary Spending and Donations" ( Badan Amil Zakat, Infak, Sedekah BAZIS). Alternatively, the zakat al fitr in western countries is often collected as a monetary donation in the congregations or paid by the faithful to aid organizations that donate food to the needy centrally. For this, the equivalent of the Sāʿ is generously calculated (currently around eight to ten euros per person).

The morning excerpt for prayer

Festive prayer in a prayer place in Indonesia
Open prayer place for the festive prayer in Jeddah

The most important religious duty on the festival of the breaking of the fast is the festive prayer ( ṣalāt al-ʿīd ), which takes place about an hour after sunrise on the morning of the 1st shawal. For this one goes to a Friday mosque or to an open prayer area . The holding of the prayer in an open prayer area outside the city is a special feature of the festive prayer, in which one follows a prophetic model. Even Mohammed intended for this prayer with the faithful in a procession-like train to a place outside Medina have gone, with him Bilal Ibn Rabah ran ahead with a lance. During the prayer, the lance was then stuck into the ground at one point as a marker for the direction of prayer . Today most Islamic cities have a number of open prayer places for festive prayer.

Before going to prayer, the believer performs a ritual full body washing ( ghusl ), which is considered to be Sunna for the feast day . For them he first pronounces the formula of intent ( nīya ): nawaitu an aġtasila ġusla ʿīdi l-fiṭri sunnatan li-Llāhi taʿālā (“I declare my intention to do the ritual great ablution on the feast of the breaking of the fast as Sunnah for God - exalted is He - to perform ").

Both men and women put on particularly beautiful or new clothes for the festive prayer. Some women decorate their hands with henna . If the festive prayer takes place in a prayer area, most believers bring their own prayer rug .

Prayer and sermon

In festive prayer there is neither a call to prayer nor an iqama . The assembled believers spend the time leading up to the beginning of prayer reciting takbīr formulas. These recitation formulas , which are referred to in Arabic as takbīrāt al-dīd ("Takbīr calls of the festival"), are regarded as a separate worship practice, which according to the Shafiite Madhhab fall into the category of Sunna. The exact formulas for takbīrāt al-ʿīd vary from region to region. In Medan the following formula is first recited together: Allāhu akbar (3 ×), lā ilāha illā Llāh, Allāhu akbar (2 ×), wa-li-Llāhi l-ḥamd (“God is great (3 ×), there is none God besides God, God is great (3 ×), praise be to God ”). This formula is followed by a longer Arabic praise for God, which is spoken by the prayer leader alone.

Before the festive prayer , the believer makes another declaration of intent, which goes something like this : uṣallī ṣalāta ʿīdi l-fiṭri rakʿataini (“I am now praying the prayer for the breaking of the fast, which consists of two rakʿas ”). After the prayer, several people walk through the ranks of the believers with a collection can and collect sadaqa . The service ends with the sermon . This order is a peculiarity of the festive prayer , because in Friday prayer the sermon precedes the prayer.

Holiday greetings

After prayer and sermon, the faithful usually go home in a relaxed mood and congratulate themselves on the feast. The greeting for the breaking of the fast is ʿĪd mubārak ("blessed festival") in Arabic . In Southeast Asia people usually greet each other with selamat hari raya ("blessing for the holiday") and add the Arabic formula min al-ʿāʾidīn wa-l-fāʾizīn ("[Be one] of those who enter and gain in Paradise"). It is also common practice to ask each other's forgiveness at this festival. In Indonesia the formula for this is: (mohon) maaf lahir dan batin ("[request for] forgiveness externally and internally"). This phrase is used to ask for forgiveness for both physical and psychological pain that has been inflicted (possibly unconsciously).

Social activities

Typically men in Malaysia wear the
Baju Melayu on the festival of the breaking of the fast

The first holiday is family day. Usually the family goes to the cemetery after the service to commemorate the deceased relatives and ancestors, to read verses of the Koran for them and to say supplications, especially the Fatiha . After the prayers, flowers and blossoms are scattered in some areas.

The holidays are used to visit relatives and friends. Mostly sweet dishes are served and a lot of sweets are distributed (e.g. Lokum ) and eaten. You give gifts to each other, often also to those in need. This is a very important aspect of Islam and is considered an honorable act.

Children in Malaysia are usually given money in paper bags as gifts. This tradition was adopted from the Chinese society of Malaysia. The Chinese term Ang Pow was replaced with duit raya ("big money").

In Malaysia, men traditionally wear during the holidays Baju Melayu (pants and shirt) with samping (Rock) and songkok (headgear) and women Baju Kurung (dress) or kebaya (blouse).

Festivities and shows

Kaʿk al-ʿīd
Ketupat, a typical Lebaran dish in Indonesia

During the festive season, you eat a lot with relatives and friends. In Egypt and Jordan, a special cake, the Kaʿk al-ʿīd , is prepared for the festival . Already after the evening prayer on the last day of Ramadan, the family has the first big meal (see also: Chand Raat ), the second after the festive prayer on the 1st Schauwāl, the third on the evening of the same day. Common foods in Southeast Asia include lemang ( rice cooked with coconut milk in bamboo cane), dodol (yellowish rice), ketupat (rice cooked in banana leaves) and ayam rendang (specially prepared chicken). In addition, there are several types of pastries and other sweets available in almost every house.

In Indonesia, there are often theater, music, or dance performances after dinner. In the dark, torch-like candles are often placed in bamboo poles ( pelita ). In addition, young people and children in particular set off fireworks and rockets.

The feast of the breaking of the fast as a holiday

In Islamic countries, all schools, universities, offices, authorities and banks are closed during the festive season and there are usually no newspapers. Most of the stores don't open either.

In Germany, in almost all federal states, Muslims have the opportunity to take time off on the 1st Schauwāl. The teachers are therefore instructed not to schedule any class or course work or other performance assessments on both festivals. A deviation of one day by the respective municipality is tolerated. However, only the main day published in the official gazette is binding.

In some international organizations (such as the IAEA in Vienna) with a high proportion of Muslim employees, this day is non-working; many local public holidays (such as the Assumption of Mary ) are working days there.

See also


  • Andreas Christmann: The fasting month of Ramadān and the final festival of fasting ʿīd al-fiṭr in Damascus: on the social impact of Islamic rituals and on aspects of the change in tradition . M-Press Meidenbauer, Munich, 2009.
  • Norbert Hofmann: The Islamic festival calendar in Java and Sumatra with special consideration of the month of fasting and the break of the fast in Jakarta and Medan . Bock + Herchen, Bad Honnef, 1978. ISBN 3-88347-000-7
  • Laila Nabhan: The Feast of Breaking the Fast ( ʿīd al-fiṭr ) in Egypt: Investigations into theological foundations and practical design . Schwarz, Berlin, 1991. ISBN 3-922968-91-0 digitized

Web links

Commons : Feast of the Breaking of the Fast  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Ramadan  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Sugar Festival  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Nabhan: The Festival of Breaking the Fast . 1991, p. 24.
  2. Nabhan: The Festival of Breaking the Fast . 1991, p. 25.
  3. Finally sugar festival! The big feast can begin . In: news.de . July 16, 2015, accessed June 26, 2017.
  4. ↑ Breaking the fast! This is how the festival is celebrated in Germany . In: news.de . July 5, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  5. Fasting is followed by the "Sugar Festival" . In: br.de . June 24, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  6. https://www.kandil.de/termin/islamische-feiertage-2018
  7. What is the Sugar Festival actually? Retrieved June 5, 2019 .
  8. https://www.kandil.de/termine/rubrik/feiertage
  9. Muslims in Germany agree for the first time on a uniform Ramadan calendar . In: islam.de . August 27, 2008. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  10. End of Ramadan: Thousands of Muslims celebrate breaking the fast in Berlin , bz-berlin.de, June 25, 2017, accessed on June 26, 2017
  11. Feast of the Breaking of the Fast (end of Ramadan on August 19, 2012) on ahmadiyya.de, accessed on June 28, 2017
  12. Ramadan 2012 (end of Ramadan on August 18, 2012) on kalender.woxikon.de, accessed on June 28, 2017
  13. See Hofmann 108.
  14. See Hofmann 131f.
  15. See Hofmann 132-134.
  16. See Hofmann: The Islamic festival calendar in Java and Sumatra . 1978, pp. 154-158.
  17. See Nabhan 97.
  18. See Hofmann 140.
  19. See Nabhan 105 and GC Miles: Art. "ʿAnaza" in The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition Vol. I, p. 482.
  20. cf. B. Hofmann's list 137-140.
  21. See Hofmann 140 f.
  22. See Hofmann 142.
  23. See Nabhan 93–97.
  24. See Hofmann 141.
  25. See Hofmann 142.
  26. See Hofmann 142 f.
  27. See Hofmann 143.
  28. See Hofmann 144.
  29. See Hofmann 145.
  30. Nabhan: The Festival of Breaking the Fast . 1991, p. 25.
  31. See Hofmann 146–148.
  32. See Hofmann 149f.
  33. ↑ No school at the end of Ramadan , ev.-luth. Regional Church of Hanover, July 15, 2015
  34. Islamic Holidays 2008/2009 (9211-51253730). In: Official Journal of the Ministry for Education, Science, Youth and Culture Rhineland-Palatinate. No. 6, 2008 (notice of the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Culture dated May 26, 2008), page 207.