Eid is an Arabic name meaning ‘festivity’, or a celebration marking happiness and feasting. The two major Eids celebrated by the Muslim community the world over are Eid al-Fitr ("Festival of Breaking the Fast") and Eid al-Adha ("Festival of the Sacrifice.") While the former celebrates the end of Ramadan, the latter coincides with the end of the Hajj and commemorates the sacrifice of a sheep or other animal in place of the Prophet Ishmael who the Prophet Abraham had been willing to sacrifice for God but had been granted not to have to do so.
Celebrated after fasting for the entire month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr signifies thanks and gratitude to Almighty Allah. It’s celebrated on the first day of Shawwal in the tenth month of the lunar calendar. Being a happy celebration, Muslims buy new clothes, gifts, and good food. In Egypt, the festivity continues for three days during which schools and government offices remain closed.
Eid marks a time of family gatherings and merry-making. It involves cooking and eating many Egyptian dishes and delicacies. The food most commonly associated with the celebration is kahk, which are nut-filled cookies covered in powdered sugar. Fast breaking is a social event, and at dawn, friends and relatives are invited by Egyptian families to get together and break the fast. This is done with dates or by drinking Qamar- eddeen, which is an apricot juice containing a few nuts and dried fruits. The drink is served only during this time and supplies much-needed sugar after fasting for so many hours. It is very delicious and filling.
Then a bowl of lentil soup is eaten. It is flavored with lemon juice and some extra ginger. Another dish is Mahshi, which is made from Rice, dill, parsley, diced tomatoes, and tomato juice mixed and rolled in cabbage or grape leaves, the stuffing can be altered to get distinct flavors as preferred. Molokhia is another unique dish made in Egypt, where the leaf of a jute tree is diced in chicken broth with dried cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper and appears to be a slimy, Green soup with an addictive taste. Famous Mesaka’a is another Egyptian dish made out of fried eggplant which is dried before adding the seasoning. It’s delicious, low-calorie food for the health-conscious. Batatis bil frakh, potatoes with chicken, is another easy dish from the Egyptian Eid feast. All of these are eaten at Eid al Fitr.
The Month of Ramadan is the holiest time of the Muslim year. It's a time when Muslims observe strict fasting and participate in pious activities like charity and peacemaking. People who observe it recognizes the same as the time of intense spiritual renewal. The end of Ramadan begins with the three-day celebration of Eid al-Fitr. A few days before Eid, Muslim families give a specific amount of donation to the needy and the poor, which is made in the form of food to ensure every Muslim can have a hearty meal and celebrate this day fully. The donation is referred to as sadaqah al-fitr or the charity of fast-breaking.
On the day of Eid, Muslims gather at mosques or outdoor locations for Eid prayers, which include a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. Children receive Eidyah, which is customary from their grown-up relatives that are given in the form of a small sum of money. The day of Eid also has many special festivals and programs even on TV where there are interviews with celebrities and public figures from all across Egyptian society. The customary greeting on Eid al-Fitr is "Eid Mubarak!" which means "blessed Eid!"