Muslims celebrate 'Eid ul Fitr on the first day of Shawwal -- the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, following the month of Ramadhan (in which the revelation started and ended 20+ years later, and which is also the month of fasting). Following a Lunar calendar, Muslims mark the beginning of the month with the sighting of the new crescent.
The month long fasting of Ramadan culminates into the festival of 'Eid-ul-Fitr,the Festival of Fast-Breaking. It is a festival of joy, family reunion and thanksgiving to Almighty God. The giving of a special charity for this occasion is obligatory. This is known as Zakat. Muslims dress in holiday attire, attend a special community prayer in the morning, and visit friends and relatives. Greetings of "'Eid mubarak," or "a blessed 'Eid" are exchanged joyfully.
Allaho-Akber, Allaho-Akber. La ila-ha ill-lal-lah. Allaho-Akber, Allaho-Akber. Wa-lilahill hamd.
(Allah is great, Allah is great. There is no god but Allah. Allah is great, Allah is great. And all praises are for Allah).
The following acts are prescribed as Sunnah at the beginning of the day of 'Eid-ul-Fitr:
1. To wake up early in the morning.
2. To clean one's teeth with a Miswaak or a brush.
3. To take a bath.
4. To put on one's best available clothes.
5. To wear perfume.
6. To eat a sweet food, preferably dates, before the Eid prayer.
7. To recite the following Takbir in the low voice while going to the 'Eid prayer': Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd
Some rules in this respect are mentioned here under:
1. The Eid prayer is Wajib (obligatory) on every male Muslim.
2. The Eid prayer can be performed any time between the Ishraq and Zawal.
3. It is preferable that the 'Eid prayer is performed at an open field and not in a mosque. However, if, it is difficult for any reason to perform it in an open field, it can also be performed in a big mosque.
4. No Nafl Salah can be performed before the 'Eid prayer, neither in one's home, nor at the place of' Eid prayer. Similarly, Nafl prayer cannot be performed after the Eid prayer at the same place. However, it can be performed after one comes back to his home.
5. The Eid prayer has neither Adhan nor Iqamah.
Eid is a Thanksgiving Day : Muslims assemble in a brotherly and joyful atmosphere to offer their gratitude to Allah for helping them to fulfil their spiritual obligations prior to the Eid.
Eid is a Day of Remembrance : The Muslims pray to Allah and glorify His name to demonstrate their remembrance of His favors.
Eid is a Day of Victory : The devotee who succeeds in attaining his spiritual rights and growth receives the Eid with a victorious spirit.
Eid is a Day of Harvest : Allah gives infinitely to those who are sincerely concerned with the general welfare of their fellow believers.
Eid is a Day of Forgiveness : When Muslims assemble in the congregation of the Day, they whole-heartedly pray for forgiveness and strength in faith. And Allah has assured those who approach Him with sincerity of His mercy and forgiveness.
Eid is a Day of Peace : When a Muslim establishes peace within his heart by obeying the Law of Allah and leading a disciplinary life, he has certainly concluded a most invioble treaty of peace with Allah.
Eid-Ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. The festival begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon in the evening of the last day of Ramadan. As soon as the new moon is sighted, there is a general rejoicing among the common people as the viewing of the new moon begins the new month which signifies an end to their month-long fast and the commencement of feasts and festal celebrations. When the sighting of the moon of Shawwal is confirmed, Muslims recite the "Takbir" which is a prayer glorifying the almighty. The Takbir consists of the lines:
La ila-ha ill-lal-lah
Allah is great, Allah is great.
There is no deity but Allah
Allah is great, Allah is great
And all praises are for Allah).
Eid-Ul-Fitr is generally celebrated for the first three days of Ramadan. For all Muslims of the world, these are three days of great merriment and festivities. On the first morning following the last day of Ramadan, Muslims traditionally wake up early in the morning and have a small breakfast (preferably of the date fruit) to end their month-long Ramadan fast. Then they dress up in their best attires, preferably new clothes which are specially purchased for the occassion. After this, they head to a local mosque or any other large open area (such as a field in the neighborhood) to attend the "salah", a special Eid prayer that is performed in congregation. Before the Eid prayer begins, every Muslim who has some means must pay "Zakat al-fitr", a sum to be donated for the month of Ramadan, to destitute Muslims living nearby. The "Zakat al-fitr" equates to about 2 kg of a basic foodstuff (wheat, barley, dates, raisins, etc.), or its cash equivalent, and is typically donated at the mosques. The donation is given during the early days of Ramadan so that the recipient can use it for Eid purchases.
The "salah" is held only for a short duration and is traditionally followed by the khutbah (sermons). This is followed by the "dua", a prayer asking for God's forgiveness, mercy and help for all living beings of the world. When the "dua" is completed, all Muslims greet and embrace the persons sitting on either side of themselves.
The prayers over, it is time for 3-day long festivities to be observed in every home. People pay a visit to the houses of their friends, relatives and acquaintances. Many Muslims also pay a visit to the graveyards, a custom known as "ziyarat al-qubur".
Prayer of Eid is followed by Khutba. All Muslims congregate together and ask for forgiveness from the all mighty. It is their tradition to cuddle everyone, especially the close relatives. The prayer of Eid has an immense importance apart from the five daily prayers. All the Muslims assemble in the mosque for a mandatory prayer.
The festive season of Eid-Ul-Fitr is observed by Muslims in their own special ways. Well dressed females of Muslim fraternity adorn their homes in the best possible ways. Muslim men look different with new white clothes. To enjoy together, Muslim women assemble and cook delicious delicacies. Children run around with smiles on their faces as they get colorful gifts and love from their near and dear ones. This is a day for exchanging gifts and being generous. Each and every Muslims share warmth and happiness by wishing everyone Eid Mubarak.