Muslims in France celebrate Eid ul Fitr on Wednesday

Muslims praying outside the Paris Great Mosque on Aïd El-Fitr festival Paris. France.

RELIGIONS NEWS AGENCY (REDNA) – Eid Mubarak! Wednesday, April 10, is a holiday for Muslims in France, who celebrate Eid el-Fitr, the breaking of the fast, and the end of Ramadan.

How is this date determined?

The confirmation of the date was given on April 1, by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), at the end of the “night of doubt.” This ceremony determines the end of the month of Ramadan by observing the new moon (with the naked eye, a telescope or astronomical calculations) and the beginning of the month of Shawwal.

The rector of the Grande Mosque of Paris had said on X that “ignoring this night on the pretext that modern technology allows us to make precise calculations would be like neglecting the call to prayer simply because we have watches or connected devices.”

Saudi Arabia, the land of Islam’s holy sites, also announced on Monday that Eid al-Fitr would begin on Wednesday, as did Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The date is shifted by about 10 days each year, as it is fixed on the Hegira calendar, which has only 354 or 355 days per year. According to this count, which begins with the Prophet Mohammed’s departure from Mecca in 622 of the Gregorian calendar, we are currently in the year 1445. This day is not a public holiday in France.

What are we celebrating?

The event marks the end of the fasting observed during the holy month of Ramadan, which began on March 11, 2024. The festive day is therefore marked by prayers at the mosque, as well as exchanges of greetings, pastries, tea and small gifts.

Traditionally, believers put on new clothes, give each other gifts and pay an alms, the zakat al-fitr, intended for the poor. The amount is the subject of various estimates. It was set at €7 in 2018, the amount still recommended by the Grand Mosque, while the CFCM felt that this amount “should evolve in view of the significant increase in food prices in recent years”, and set it at €9 per person. Saphir News points out that this diversity is nothing new: the Ditib, the body representing Turkish Muslims, has just re-evaluated the amount of zakat from €10 to €15 in 2024.

What is the difference with Eid-el-Kebir?

Eid al-Fitr, the feast of the breaking of bread, is also called Eid el-Seghir, which means “small feast,” as opposed to the “big feast” that is Eid el-Kebir. Also called “Eid el-Adha,” the latter is a commemoration of the sacrifice recounted in the Koran and in the Old Testament: as Abraham prepares to kill his son to obey God, an angel replaces the child’s body with that of a ram. In remembrance, Muslims perform a ritual slaughter of sheep – a practice not performed for the end of Ramadan. Only the prayer said and the greeting (Eid Mubarak, or “blessed celebration”) are the same for both celebrations.

Source: Le Monde

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