In the Islamic tradition, Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. For the entire month leading up to the sighting of the new moon and the end of Ramadan, Muslims have been fasting from dawn to dusk to purify their souls, commune with the Almighty and seek forgiveness for their sins. It is believed that fasting rids the individual of all external and internal impurities and prompts their return to their true nature.Shoppers buying dry fruits and nuts ahead of Eid al-Fitr at Kabul’s main open-air bazaar, the Mandawi.
Photo: Sayed Asadullah Sadat, 20 April 2023.
Eid al-Fitr, literally the feast of the breaking of the fast, is one of the biggest and most important Islamic celebrations and is usually accompanied by a three-day official holiday. There are particular rites, including a special Eid prayer that can be performed anytime from dawn to midday on the first day. There is an obligation to give alms to the poor (zakat al-Fitr), while fasting is forbidden during the Eid period. It is a time to visit family and friends, share food, and visit the graves of relatives and remember them. For those who can afford it, there may be new clothes, and gifts known as eidi. The days running up to Eid are typically busy ones for shoppers, shopkeepers and traders.
Yet, this year, once again, Eid al-Fitr comes during difficult days for Afghanistan. The country’s economy continues to falter. Many families are facing economic problems, poverty and uncertainty. Afghan women and girls continue to face increasing restrictions on their lives, particularly their right to education and to work.
Afghanistan Analysts Network wishes our readers, friends and all the people of Afghanistan a happy and joyous Eid al-Fitr.
This article was last updated on 21 Apr 2023