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Religious ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration all marks the Indian festivals.


Punjab
India - Festivals - Eid Ul Fitr Festival

Eid ul Fitar is one of the most joyous days in the Islamic calendar and is the conclusion to the month of solemnity and repentance that is marked by fasting and prayers and acts of piety. Eid is derived from the Arabic word “Oud” which literally means the return. Each year this solemn day is celebrated after the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal month. It is believed that in the sacred month of Ramadan the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Eid ul Fitr also means the breaking of the fast. These solemn celebrations of Eid continue over a three day period in Islamic countries. It is joyous occasion for Muslim brethren. It is special commemoration as belivers celebrates this day as time of thanksgiving for the blessings they have received and also implore blessing for the observance that they have kept during the course of fasting. It is time of repentance as neighbors seek forgiveness for the faults that have committed both knowingly and unknowingly. It is also a time for forgoing all grudges and ill feelings. The message of festivities is simple spreading peace and happiness and thanksgiving for completing one period of fasting which is more than a spiritual exercise but an experience. Eid celebrations are also marked with frequent celebrations within the Muslim community. Families decorate homes and send Eid cards and gifts to near and dear ones and share sweets and delicacies that are prepared at homes. It is a new beginning. The day however begins with prayer that is followed by social celebrations. The principle behind Rosa is to understand the plight of the poor and pledge to live a more significant and meaningful life. Prophet Mohammed said, "if a person observing fast does not shun untruth, his having given up eating and drinking is of little value. Such a person starves for nothing. and those who rise in the midnight to recite prayers but do not give up untruth and evil deeds, lose their sleep for nothing."Due to the rigorous discipline during the days of Ramzan, a believer becomes one with religion and feels a genuine need to do good and lead a more refined and introspective life. Giving money and material goods away in charity is another Islamic custom that every conscientious Muslim practices. In fact Zakat or charity is one of the five main tenets of Islam. A true Muslim is expected to be generous throughout the year, all the more so during Ramzan. Every Muslim who owns 52.5 tolas (one tola is approximately 10 grams) of silver or an equivalent amount of wealth must donate at least 2.5% of his total income to the needy during the month of Ramzan.

The last few days before Eid Ul Fitar can be described as a time of joyful anticipation. As Eid is round the corner people are simply abuzz with preparations for the feast. Market squares also become lively abuzz with people. It is a time of new beginning and is one of the biggest feats in the Islamic calendar and hence people are busy shopping for clothes, new tapestry and appliances for home and also for festal attire. Homes are cleaned and white washed. Various mouthwatering dishes and savories are prepared for the day. Woman folk are busing shopping for silk clothing and jewelry in order to be in the fine best for the approaching feast. Eid is also time and occasion for family reunions.



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