By: Sumaya Noor and Fatima Mohamud
Islam has two main celebrations: Eid-al-Adha, Eid-al-Fitr; these are celebrated by all Muslims (or almost all). There is also the celebration of Ramadan, and the celebration of Ashura, the latter of which is mostly celebrated by Shia Muslims.
Islamic Celebrations and Customs
Ramadan is a period of fasting and prayer that lasts for 30 days. It’s to recognize the less unfortunate and bring ourselves closer to Allah.
Muslims wake up before dawn to eat and drink, refrain from eating or drinking throughout the day, and then have a meal to break their fast after sunset. Some Muslims may eat dates to break their fast before having the evening meal. If you forget and accidentally eat something or drink water, your fast is not broken and it is not a sin. However, if you eat or drink on purpose and tell it off as an accident it is a heavy sin and is extremely prohibited.
Some exceptions can be made during fasting, such as pregnancy, being old, being too young, or being ill. You can make up for missing days of fasting by adding it onto the end of Ramadan, meaning if you missed two days of fasting, you would add two days after Ramadan to make up for skipped days.
Reading verses of the Quran daily is extremely common in this month of importance. The Quran is a holy book that is well known because of its importance to practicing the rules and stories of Islam. Non-Muslims can read the Quran if they are curious about the religion and want to seek out more, but first they must wash their face, ears, hair, legs, arms, and mouth. This process is called the Wudu. Muslims cleanse themselves in this process before touching the Quran, and praying, and it is broken if you make contact with any haram (prohibited) animals such as pigs and dogs.
Muslims pray five times a day. The times change during the year because of the different seasons but some stay the same. Fajr, the first prayer is before sunrise. Duhur, the second prayer is around midday. Asr, is also midday but closer to sunset. Magharib, is at sunset, and Isha, is at night near common sleeping times (8-10 pm).
Many Muslims visit the Kaaba, located in Saudi Arabia, for prayers throughout the day. Millions of Muslims practice this tradition of Islam for every year of their life until they are old and too weak or to go without eating.
What is Eid-Al-Fitr?
Eid-Al-Fitr is one of the two Islamic holidays that is always celebrated the day after the month of Ramadan. It’s very popular for people to go to their local mosque or spend the day with family and friends. It means the “Celebration of Breaking Fast”. On this day it is a sin to fast because people are supposed to enjoy themselves and not starve if it is an option.
Many people visit family, go out and have parties to celebrate their strength shown during the past month.
What is Eid-Al-Adha?
Eid-Al-Adha is another Islamic holiday. This celebration is to honor the prophet Ibrahim for willing to sacrifice Ismael in the name of Allah. The holiday includes sacrificing a sheep, cow, or goat and prayers.
“Eid-Al-Adha” literally means “Festival of Breaking Fast”. Some Muslims may go to sacrifice an animal to honor their prophet and Allah. This is done in good manners and the slaughter is quick.
What is Ashura?
Ashura is an islamic holiday that is greatly celebrated among Shia muslims.
It marks the day Moses was saved by God and when Noah left the ark, which is on the 10th of Muharram. Shia Muslims mourn this day because of the martyrdom of Hussein. Many will participate in activities, during their mourning, that many may consider extreme, such as sacrificing their blood.