FFor Muslims, the fasting month of Ramadan ends on April 9, 2024. The following day, the three-day festival of breaking the fast begins.

Muslim celebrations are called “Eid al-Fitr” in Arabic and “Ramazan Bayramı” in Turkish. After the Feast of Sacrifice (“Eid al-Adha”), it is the second most important festival in Islam. Both are called Bayram in Turkish, which means holiday. Non-Islamic people talk about “Sugar Festival” because sweets are given to children.

The festival of breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan should not be confused with breaking the daily fast after sunset during the fasting month. During the Sugar Festival, Muslims celebrate the end of the hardships of the month-long fast.

The date of Eid al-Fitr depends on the new moon

The date of the sugar festival depends on the lunar calendar. It always takes place on the first three days of the new moon month. The festival begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon in the tenth month (Shawwal) of the Islamic calendar. Therefore, the date may vary in different regions depending on the sighting of the new moon. The Sugar Festival does not have a fixed date – similar to Easter in the Christian church year.

Worshipers praying in New Delhi, India, 2008


Worshipers praying in New Delhi, India, 2008
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Image: dpa

The traditional Islamic calendar, like the world's most common Gregorian calendar, consists of twelve months. However, lunar months only have 29 or 30 days, so there are only 354 days in a year. Therefore, the sugar festival is postponed by eleven days every year; even by twelve days in leap years. This year 2024 is a leap year and Eid al-Fitr is twelve days earlier (April 9 to 11, 2024) than the year before. In 2025, it will be celebrated from March 30 to April 1.

Sweets, gifts – but not everywhere without school

In preparation for the sugar festival, elaborate special food is prepared, the apartment is thoroughly cleaned and festive clothes are bought. Many Muslims take holidays and use the time to visit relatives and eat, pray and celebrate together. Traditionally, the festival begins with a prayer in the mosque. Afterwards, family members and friends get together and eat a lot and well. The younger ones show respect to their elders by kissing their hands and bringing them to their foreheads. Children are given money, sweets and other gifts.

In prayers, believers ask Allah to understand their difficulties during Ramadan. Part of the festival includes giving donations to the needy called Zakat Al-Fitr. Alms is also considered as compensation for all transgressions during Ramadan.

A Turkish family broke their fast


A Turkish family broke their fast
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Image: dpa

In Islamic countries, all important institutions are closed during Eid al-Fitr, schoolchildren and students have a day off. In Germany, the sugar festival is not a public holiday. However, parents can request that their children be exempted from classes for the first day of the Sugar Festival.

“Eid Mubarak” to all who celebrate

At the sugar festival, one greets each other with “Eid Mubarak” in Arabic. In Turkish, you wish yourself a blessed celebration “Bayram mübarek olsun”.

During Ramadan, devout Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex between sunrise and sunset. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam – alongside the creed, the five daily prayers, almsgiving and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

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