Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan under the influence of the Ukraine war
fThe fasting month of Ramadan ends for Muslims these days. The festival that followed breaking the fast lasts three days. In Germany, they began on April 2 and will last until May 4, 2022. The celebrations are called “Eid al-Fitr” in Arabic and “Ramazan Bayramı” in Turkish. After the Feast of Sacrifice (“Eid al-Adha”) it is the second most important festival in Islam. Both are called “Bayram” in Turkish, meaning holiday. The non-Islamic public speaks of the “sugar festival” because children are given sweets.
The feast of breaking the fast at the end of ramadan is not to be confused with the daily breaking of the fast after sunset during the month of fasting. Muslims celebrate at the Sugar Festival Muslimsthat the toils of the month’s fast are over. After two years of corona restrictions, believers are allowed to come together again this year in large numbers to pray and celebrate together.
But this year the festival is overshadowed by the war in Ukraine. Many Arab countries are suffering from rising food and fuel prices. After all, Russia, like Ukraine, is an important supplier of wheat and sunflower oil.
The date of Eid al-Fitr is determined by the new moon
The date of the Sugar Festival is based on the lunar calendar. It always takes place in the first three days of the new lunar month. The festival begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon in the tenth month (Shawwal) of the Islamic calendar. Therefore, the date may vary in different regions depending on the sighting of the new moon.
In Afghanistan, the festival had already started on Sunday. Saudi Arabia also declared Sunday the last day of the month of fasting and Monday the start of Eid al-Fitr. In Germany, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr from Monday. The Sugar Festival therefore has no fixed date – similar to Easter in the Christian church year.
Like the world’s most common Gregorian calendar, the traditional Islamic calendar has twelve months. However, the lunar months only have 29 or 30 days, which is why the year only has 354 days. Therefore, the Sugar Festival is shifted by eleven days every year; in leap years even by twelve days. It will be celebrated eleven days earlier in the coming year than in the current one: in 2023, the fast-breaking festival will begin on April 21 and last until April 23. The year 2024 is a leap year and Eid al-Fitr is twelve days earlier (April 9-11, 2024) than the year before. In 2025 it will be celebrated from March 30th to April 1st.
Sweets, gifts – but not everywhere free of school
In preparation for the Sugar Festival, elaborate, special food is prepared, the apartment is thoroughly cleaned and festive clothing is bought. Many Muslims take vacations and use the time to visit relatives and eat together, pray and celebrate. Traditionally, the festival begins with prayer in the mosque. Afterwards family members and friends meet and eat a lot and well. The younger ones show respect to the elders by kissing their hands and raising them to their own foreheads. Children are given money, sweets and other gifts.
In prayer, believers ask Allah to acknowledge their hardships during Ramadan. Part of the festival are donations to the needy, called Zakat Al-Fitr. The alms are also used to compensate for any misconduct during Ramadan.
In Islamic countries, all important institutions are closed during Eid al-Fitr, schoolchildren and students are free.
In Germany, the Sugar Festival is not a public holiday. However, parents can apply for a leave of absence from their children’s classes for the first day of the Sugar Festival.
“Eid Mubarak” to all who celebrate
At the Sugar Festival, people greet each other in Arabic with “Eid Mubarak”. In Turkish, “Bayram mübarek olsun” is used to wish a blessed festival.
The month of fasting began this year on April 2nd and ended on the evening of May 1st. During Ramadan, devout Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex between sunrise and sunset.