While many of the mass celebrations of Eid will once more be curtailed by restrictions around the Covid-19 pandemic, some traditions will endure.
One of these is the familiar Arabic greeting of “Eid Mubarak” which observers will wish each other during the festival – here’s what it means.
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What does ‘Eid Mubarak’ mean?
The Arabic word “mubarak” translates as “blessed,” while “Eid” means feast, festival or celebration, so “Eid Mubarak” can literally mean “blessed celebration” or “blessed feast”, although it is widely interpreted as simply wishing somebody a “happy Eid”.
“Ramadan Kareem” is less commonly used, but translates as “Generous Ramadan” – while the phrase can be used as a greeting in a similar way to “Ramadan Mubarak”, it can also describe Ramadan when referring to it in a wider context.
There is some debate around whether using “Ramadan Kareem” is appropriate, given that the expectation of generosity can be considered against the principles of fasting and prayer central to observing the holy month.
However, others argue that the greeting can appropriately refer to the generosity of acts towards others. Khaled Boudemagh, described by Gulf News as a Dubai-based language expert, said: “Ramadan is a month of generosity, therefore wish Kareem.”
Both “Mubarak” and “Kareem” are also given names in Arabic, which carry the same meanings as bestowed in the Eid and Ramadan greetings.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal, which follows Ramadan as the 10th month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar.
Like the start of Ramadan, the date of Eid is established by the sighting of the crescent moon, which generally appears one night after the new moon, and marks the onset of the month of Shawwal, the tenth of the Islamic Hijri calendar.
This year’s moon sighting in Saudi Arabia has been prected for either Tuesday 11 May or Wednesday 12 May, with the Eid festival following a day later.
Eid al-Fitr’s name comes from an Arabic term which translates as the “feast of breaking the fast” and, although not a public holiday in the UK, it is for many Muslim countries.
In normal years, it is traditional for Muslims to gather together in a park to celebrate breaking their fast, with large-scale events and festival food (particularly sweet treats), prayer and stalls.
However, due to the Covid-19 restrictions still in place in the UK and other countries, the communal aspect of Eid will be hampered this year.
After Eid some Muslims decide to fast for the six days that follow. This stems from the Islamic belief that a good deed in Islam is rewarded 10 times, thus fasting for 30 days during Ramadan and six days during Shawwal creates a year’s worth of goodwill.