Eid al-Fitr is the first day of the Muslim month of Shawwal, which immediately follows the fasting month of Ramadan. It is a time to feast and celebrate. Many Ugandan Muslims attend prayer at mosques, eat communal meals or special lunches, and give charity to the poor in the form of food so they can eat and celebrate Eid as well.
Plain rice, rice pilau and dates are among the many foods eaten for Eid or given to the poor. The amount to be given to the poor is prescribed, and it is supposed to be donated a few days before Eid, during the last days of Ramadan.
Prayers take place all over the country, but two locations in Kampala, the capital, have large gatherings: the Old Kampala Mosque and the Spidiqa Foundation Mosque.
Eid celebrations can last up to three days. In many countries with large Muslim populations, it is a national holiday. Schools, offices and businesses are closed so family, friends and neighbors can enjoy the celebrations together. Saudi Arabia has announced a 16-day holiday this year for Eid. In Turkey and in places that were once part of the Ottoman-Turkish empire such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Azerbaijan and the Caucasus, it is also known as the, “Lesser Bayram” (meaning “lesser festival” in Turkish).
The other festival, Eid al-Adha, is the “feast of the sacrifice.” It commemorates the end of Hajj, an annual pilgrimage by millions of Muslims to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia that is obligatory once in a lifetime, but only for those with means.
Eid al-Adha recalls the story of how God commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as a test of faith (the story is of Abraham and Isaac in the Hebrew Torah and Christian Old Testament). The story, as narrated in the Quran, describes Satan’s attempt to tempt Ibrahim so he would disobey God’s command. Ibrahim, however, remains unmoved and informs Ismail, who is willing to be sacrificed.
But, just as Ibrahim attempts to kill his son, God intervenes and a ram is sacrificed in place of Ismail. This story has institutionalized the ideal of sacrifice in Islam and continues to be commemorated each year. During Eid al-Adha, Muslims slaughter an animal to remember Ibrahim’s sacrifice and remind themselves of the need to submit to the will of God. Eid al-Adha is also known as the “Greater Bayram.”
Thanks goes to www.heconversation.com website for spiritual insight.