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Eid al-Fitr in the United States

Many Muslims in the United States celebrate Eid al-Fitr (also known as Id al-Fitr or Eid ul-Fitr) on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar. It marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan and the start of a feast that lasts up to three days in some countries.

Is Eid al-Fitr a Public Holiday?

Eid al-Fitr is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Muslim child and mother expressing joy.

Many Muslims dress in fine clothing and children may receive gifts on Eid al-Fitr.

©iStockphoto.com/DistinctiveImages

What Do People Do?

Eid al-Fitr is an important Islamic holiday that involves many Muslims waking up early and praying either at an outdoor prayer ground or a mosque. Many Muslims dress in their finest clothes and adorn their homes with lights and other decorations. Old wrongs are forgiven and money is given to the poor. Special foods are prepared and friends or relatives are invited to share the feast. Gifts and greeting cards are exchanged and children receive presents. Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion but its underlying purpose is to praise God and give thanks to him, according to Islamic belief.

Some Muslim groups in the United States campaign for schools in some parts of the country to allocate Eid al-Fitr as a day off without being penalized on Eid al-Fitr. For example, the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays, which is a group of more than 80 religious and ethnic organizations, have been lobbying to have the two Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha designated as days off in New York City schools.

Public Life

Eid al-Fitr is not a federal public holiday in the United States. However, many Islamic businesses and organizations may alter their business hours during this event. There may be some congestion around mosques around this time of the year. In New York City, the day is a holiday for public schools.

Background

Eid al-Fitr is also known as the Feast of Fast-Breaking or the Lesser Feast. It marks the end of Ramadan and the start of a feast that lasts up to three days in some countries, such as Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. It is one of Islam’s two major festivals, with Eid al-Adha being the other major festival. Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of the fasting that occurs during Ramadan.

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. The new moon may be sighted earlier or later in specific locations. Hence, 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.

About Eid al-Fitr in other countries

Read more about Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-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 New Moon is first seen.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010FriSep 10Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2011WedAug 31Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2012SunAug 19Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2013ThuAug 8Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2014TueJul 29Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2015SatJul 18Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2016WedJul 6Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2017MonJun 26Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2018FriJun 15Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2019WedJun 5Eid al-FitrMuslim 
2020SunMay 24Eid al-FitrMuslim 

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