Eid al-Adha & Eid al-Fitr Explained: Similarities & Differences

By Shamilka Rasheed | 13, Jun, 2024
Eid al-Adha & Eid al-Fitr Explained: Similarities & Differences

What are the different types of Eid? Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr are two of the most important festivals that are celebrated by Muslims all around the world. But why do Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr? While there might be certain similarities in terms of festivities and celebration, the history and reasons behind both these Eid festivals completely differ from each other. Take a glance at these well-known Muslim holidays and the significant reasons behind these celebrations.

Get more information by visiting our Hajj, Umrah, and Eid Al-Adha dedicated information page and read more Hajj, Umrah, and Eid Al-Adha articles here!

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The History Of Eid ul-Fitr
Moon eclipsed to a crescent

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Eid al-Fitr is typically celebrated for more than a day and starts on the first day of Shawal, which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr to acknowledge the successful completion of fasting and devotion during the Holy Month of Ramadan – which includes abstaining from bad habits and giving to charity as well.

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan where Muslims wait for an announcement for the sighting of the new crescent moon.

Celebrating Eid al-Fitr

The day will start with ​Fajr prayers (morning prayers) ​then Eid prayers which will be followed by people greeting their family and friends. This is also a time where Eid feasts with traditional foods and unique dishes will be a big part of the celebrations, and when new clothes are worn and gifts are exchanged. Making special Eid sweets are also an important part of the festivities in most destinations.

People at the market

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A major part of Eid al-Fitr celebrations will involve getting together with friends and family for this special occasion, and special prayer services where Muslims will make visits to the mosque. In some countries, celebrations involve street decorations or even processions, while different communities around the world will have their own special traditions to carry out.

The History Behind Eid ul-Adha
Gather at the Ka'bah

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According to Islamic scriptures, Eid al-Adha commemorates Ibrahim's devotion to sacrifice his own son according to Allah's command. However, Allah showed them mercy and provided a goat that could be sacrificed instead.

Also known as the “Greater Eid” or “Feast Of The Sacrifice”, Eid ul-Adha is celebrated after Muslims go on the annual Hajj pilgrimage and falls on the 10th day of the 12th month on the Islamic calendar. Just like Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims will wait for an announcement of the sighting of the crescent moon which will indicate the right time for celebrations.

The Eid Al-Adha Celebrations
Kid in white shirt eating brown bread

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Eid celebrations will last for four to five days, and an important part of celebrating the festival involves the Qurbani sacrifice according to Islamic tradition. Eid al-Adha is celebrated by sacrificing livestock animals such as cows, goats or sheep to honor Ibrahim’s obedience. The meat will then be cooked and shared in a big family meal, and will also be distributed among the poor. Additionally, giving to charity is also encouraged during this time.


Similarities & Differences

The two Eids have many commonalities, such as their communal eid prayers, charitable giving, joyous feasts, and donning of new clothes. Both celebrations emphasize the value of religion, thankfulness, and charity while fostering a feeling of community and mutual delight. They are crucial reminders of the fundamental principles of Islam, including adoration of God, empathy for others, and the importance of bonds to one's family and community.

Some of the similarities between Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha includes feasting while enjoying the festivities with family members, and friends while regional traditions might be different depending on the country or city.

However, the differences lie in their historical and religious contexts and specific rituals. While Eid al-Adha commemorates the narrative of Ibrahim's dedication and the corresponding act of sacrifice, Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and emphasizes the spiritual benefits of fasting. The charitable aspect of Eid al-Fitr is through Zakat al-Fitr, given before the Eid prayer to ensure all can join the celebrations, while Eid al-Adha involves the physical act of animal sacrifice with meat distribution. Furthermore, Eid al-Adha's link to the Hajj emphasizes its special significance in the Islamic calendar, combining the regional festivities with the worldwide pilgrimage that millions of Muslims do.

So which Eid is more important, Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr? Most Muslims will agree that each of the Eid festivals are significant to them when it comes to their faith. Eid al-Adha celebrates the obedience of Ibrahim, and Eid al-Fitr is just as important as it is the festival that marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan after spiritual ties have been renewed. However, Eid al-Adha is considered as the often considered “Greater Eid” as this period reflects on an important part of Islamic scripture.

In essence, while both Eids share the common goal of fostering spiritual growth and community cohesion, each with its own particular character and significance within the Islamic faith due to its various rituals and historical roots.


Cover Image Credit: David Rodrigo on Unsplash  

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