Diversity Matters: Eid al-Fitr

June 26, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Traditional sweets eaten during Eid al-Fitr.

This past Sunday, Ramadan came to a close, kicking off a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr (pronounced Eed-al-fit’r).

“Eid al-Fatr is a very important holiday for Muslims,” said Fadi Islim, a senior clinical business analyst for nursing informatics. “The holiday translates to ‘the feast of the breaking of the fast’ as it celebrates the breaking of the fast that we observe during Ramadan. It is also serves as a reminder to practice forgiveness.”

The holiday also gives everyone in the Muslim community an opportunity to help others in need, as giving to charity is an important element of the celebration.

To help you become more understanding and supportive of patients, families and colleagues at Michigan Medicine, here’s what you may not know about Eid al-Fitr:

Celebratory traditions

Muslims begin the first day of the Eid by joining family members for a traditional breakfast that includes sweets, such as dates. They will then visit a mosque to offer special prayers.

“Prior to the prayers, it is obligatory for those who have the means to give to charity,” Islim said. “That’s a sign to God [Allah in Arabic] that we know we are fortunate for what we have been given.”

Later in the day, families gather together for lunches and dinners and the exchanging of gifts — which is especially popular among children.

“The Eid is very similar to Christmas because kids often get the gifts they’ve been looking forward to all year,” said Islim.

The remaining two days are also filled with prayers, celebrations and visits with extended family members.

Supporting those who celebrate

In the U.S., some members of the Muslim community may take the three days off of work while others celebrate the Eid before and after work hours.

If a colleague or patient is celebrating the holiday, it is customary to offer well wishes.

“Happy Eid” or “Blessed Eid” are common greetings, though Islim said “it doesn’t matter what form the greetings take as long as they are congratulatory and positive.”

The Eid — which is based on the Muslim lunar calendar — will end at sundown on Tuesday.

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