Mawlid is the festival that celebrates the birth of the Muhammad, the Prophet. It is an event that has slowly grown and has spread throughout the Muslim world, and is an official holiday in all Muslim countries except a few like Saudi Arabia. India is one of the non Muslim countries that witness major celebration of this festival. It falls on the 12th of Rabi Ul Awaal, of the Hijri calendar. It is believed that the Prophet was born on this day, and after completing his work, he also passed away on the same day.
Today, it is celebrated amongst great fanfare. Processions are taken out, Mosques are decorated with lights, people pray for the whole night before, and thousands throng at places like Hazratbal in Kashmir, to have glimpse of the holy relics of the Prophet. It is marked by Muslim gatherings, where stories, actions, bravery, wisdom and his final victory at Mecca about the Prophet are told. It is also the only Muslim festival that is celebrated in the Day time.
Charity is a popular activity on this day. Family gatherings are also common, resulting in feasts, with food being given to family and the poor.
There are some scholars however, who believe that there is no base in celebrating this event, and the Prophet's birth is not properly recorded, and that this festival came up just to counter the Christian celebrations. However, it is the faith that has made this festival as popular as it is today, and it continues to be more and more popular.