Muslims worldwide celebrate two religious holidays annually, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Each Eid coincides with a season of increased divine favor and aims to express gratitude to God. The Eid celebration is typically the largest gathering of Muslims in any locality.
Eid al-Fitr literally means “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of Ramadan, a month dedicated to fasting and worship. Muslims traditionally begin Eid day by dressing in their finest clothes and distributing a food-based charity, known as zakat al-fitr, to those in need. After such they gather for a special prayer, which is followed by a short sermon. In addition to celebrating the end of fasting with great feasts, many Muslims consider Eid to be the ideal time to visit friends and family and strengthen communal bonds.
Eid al-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice), considered to be “the Greater Eid”, marks the conclusion of the first ten days of the Islamic Month of Dhul-Hijjah, believed by Muslims to be the most virtuous days of the year. Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day and honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah's command. But before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, Allah replaced him with a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this, many Muslim households offer a sacrificial animal on Eid, the meat of which is divided among neighbors, friends and family, and less fortunate Muslims. Like Eid al-Fitr, many Muslims begin Eid al-Adha by attending a special congregational prayer followed by a short sermon and continue the celebration with visits to relatives and gift-giving.