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This donation is typically food rather than money—rice, barley, dates, rice, and more—to ensure that the needy are able to enjoy a nourishing holiday meal and participate in the celebration. These activities traditionally continue for three days.
This is a time for Muslim families to share their good fortune with others.
Before the first day of Eid, during the last few days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a traditionally-defined amount as a donation to the poor.
Every Muslim, who has to means, is to sacrifice an animal in the way of God, after the Eid prayers.
At least one-third of the meat of the sacrificed animal is to be distributed among the needy.
This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. During Eid, families may string up lights, or place candles or lanterns around the house. Family members may wear traditional clothing or may give one another new clothing in order that everyone may look their best.
The exact pattern and number of segments of the prayer are specific to the branch of Islam, although Eid is the only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not allowed to fast. Many Muslims call the holiday Sweet Eid, and special foods, especially sweet treats, may be served.
In contrast to the devoted calm of the rest of the Ramadan observance, Eid al-Fitr is marked by joyful happiness at having been released from religious obligation and forgiven for sins.
Once the celebration begins, it may continue for up to three days.
Because the year loses 11 days with respect to the Gregorian solar calendar, the month of Ramadan shifts forward 11 days each year, as does Eid al-Fitr.
Each year, Eid al-Fitr falls about 11 days earlier than the previous year.