What do people do?
Many Muslims attend communal prayers and listen to a khutba or sermon on the first day of the month of Shawwal. These prayers are held outside or in large venues, such as sports arenas, in some places. Many Muslims may travel far to participate in these activities. Some communities organize different festivities, such as communal meals or events for children, on this day.
If a Muslim has not given zakat al-fitr during Ramadan, he or she can give this on Eid-al-Fitr. Zakat al-fitr is a form of charity consisting of a quantity of food, such as barley, dates, raisins or wheat flour, or its monetary equivalent given to the poor. Many Muslims may also prepare festive meals to share, wear new clothes, visit relatives and give presents or candy to children. Cards can also be sent, often featuring the words “Eid Mubbarak” (blessed Eid).
Eid al-Fitr is not a nationwide public holiday in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States. However, many Islamic businesses and organizations may have altered opening hours. There may also be some congestion around mosques during the day.
It is not possible to predict the date of Eid-al-Fitr according to the Gregorian calendar accurately. This is because the month of Shawwal begins, and hence the month of Ramadan ends, after a confirmed sighting of the new moon, either in Saudi Arabia or locally. The new moon may be sighted earlier or later in specific locations. Hence, many Muslims in different communities, for example on the east and west coasts of the USA and Canada, may begin the Eid-al-Fitr celebrations on different dates.