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Eid ul Fitr in the United Kingdom

Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. Muslims all across the UK enjoy lavish meals together with loved ones.

On Eid ul-Fitr, people enjoy a lavish meal, often together with family and friends.

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Is Eid ul-Fitr a Public Holiday?

While Eid ul-Fitr, also spelled Eid al-Fitr, is an important celebration for Muslims, no bank holidays are associated with this particular date in the United Kingdom. However, since the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays changes every year, Eid ul-Fitr can fall on other UK bank holidays.

Islamic businesses and organizations may change their business hours during this event. There may be congestion around mosques and the Eid ul-Fitr celebrations and festivals held in some UK cities.

Eid Celebrations in the UK

Muslims in the UK usually start the day by waking up early and gathering in the local mosque or at an outdoor prayer ground for the Eid prayers. People celebrating Eid dress in their finest clothes and may adorn their homes with lights and other decorations.

If you visit a Muslim community during Eid, you will likely hear people wishing each other Eid Mubarak. This translates as “Blessed Eid” or “Happy Eid.”

Eid ul-Fitr Food

Later in the day, people enjoy a lavish meal, usually together with family and friends. Eid ul-Fitr translates as the Festival of Breaking the Fast as it marks the end of the Ramadan fasting period. In fact, the Qur’an forbids fasting on Eid ul-Fitr.

Eid ul-Fitr is also called the Sweet Eid or Sugar Feast because it features a large variety of sweet dishes. In the UK, the composition of the feast largely depends on the family's cultural background. The Eid ul-Fitr breakfast may include sheer khurma, a sweet pasta and date pudding originating in South and Central Asia. Muslims from northern African countries may eat laasida, a Moroccan pudding consisting mainly of couscous, butter, and honey. Lapis legit is a multi-layered cake that is a popular Eid dish among UK residents with roots in Indonesia.

A large variety of savory foods usually complement the Eid meal. Biryani, a spicy meat and rice dish from India, is particularly popular in the UK. Members of the Afghan community may enjoy bolani, a type of flatbread stuffed with spinach, potatoes, pumpkin, or lentils. People with roots in Malaysia may eat rendang, a hot beef curry.

Family Celebration

Eid ul-Fitr is a joyful occasion with a focus on the family. Some Muslim communities organize events offering various family activities. In some UK cities, such as London and Birmingham, these events usually attract thousands of people.

The Eid Festival (also known as Eid in the Square) in London's Trafalgar Square is held annually on the Saturday following Eid ul-Fitr. It usually features live entertainment, stalls, exhibitions, and children's activities.

Charity

The holy month of Ramadan is a time for Muslims to donate to charity or contribute to the community. On Eid ul-Fitr, there is an even stronger focus on charity, and Muslims are expected to donate food or money to the poor so they can also enjoy a proper Eid ul-Fitr feast. This compulsory practice is called Zakat al-Fitr (also spelled Zakat ul-Fitr).

Spiritual Meaning of Eid ul-Fitr

Despite the celebratory character of Eid ul-Fitr, its underlying purpose is to thank Allah for the strength he provided to endure the Ramadan fast. On this day, it is also customary to visit the graves of family members who have passed away.

The entire Ramadan period focuses on forgiveness and atonement, and Eid ul-Fitr is seen as a good opportunity to come together and put old grudges to rest.

Initiated by Prophet Muhammad

Scholars generally agree that Prophet Muhammad introduced the feast, although the timing is debated. According to some traditions, he initiated both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha after his journey (Hijrah) from Mecca (Makkah) to Medina in 622 CE.

Eid ul-Fitr in the Islamic Calendar

Eid ul-Fitr falls on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. It marks the end of Ramadan, the ninth month.

Muslims use a lunar calendar that differs in length from the Gregorian calendar used worldwide. This means the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays shifts slightly from one year to the next, falling about 11 days earlier each year.

Eid ul-Fitr Date Depends on Moon Sighting

The timing of Muslim months and holidays generally depends on the lunar cycle, specifically the sighting of the Moon's crescent following New Moon. Because the Moon's visibility depends on clear skies and several other factors, the exact date of Muslim holidays cannot be predicted with certainty.

Also, since the Moon is never visible in all world regions at once and current local dates can vary from one country to another, a holiday may fall on different dates according to a country's longitude and time zone. Depending on their country of origin, religious orientation, or cultural affiliation, some Muslims may, therefore, celebrate a holiday one day, two days, or even three days earlier than others.

Who Celebrates Eid ul-Fitr in the UK?

With nearly 2.8 million Muslims living in the United Kingdom, which equals about 4.8% of the population, Islam constitutes the second largest religion in the country, after Christianity. The largest Muslim community is in London. The municipalities of Bradford, Luton, Blackburn, Birmingham, and Dewsbury also have significant Muslim populations.

About Eid ul Fitr in Other Countries

Read more about Eid ul Fitr.

Eid ul Fitr Observances

Note: Regional customs or Moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday. The Islamic calendar is lunar and the days begin at sunset, so there may be one-day error depending on when the Crescent Moon is first seen.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2017MonJun 26Eid ul FitrMuslim
2018FriJun 15Eid ul FitrMuslim
2019TueJun 4Eid ul FitrMuslim
2020SunMay 24Eid ul FitrMuslim
2021ThuMay 13Eid ul FitrMuslim
2022MonMay 2Eid ul FitrMuslim
2023SatApr 22Eid ul Fitr (Tentative Date)Muslim
2024WedApr 10Eid ul Fitr (Tentative Date)Muslim
2025MonMar 31Eid ul Fitr (Tentative Date)Muslim
2026FriMar 20Eid ul Fitr (Tentative Date)Muslim
2027WedMar 10Eid ul Fitr (Tentative Date)Muslim

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.