Eid Al Fitr is a key date in the Islamic calendar as it marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting.
On the eve of the 30th day of Ramadan, the moon-sighting committee, which was responsible for sighting the crescent moon to indicate the start of the holy month, reconvenes to look for the new crescent moon that signals the beginning of a new month. If they spot the new moon, the following morning will be announced as the first day of Shawwal — Eid Al Fitr.
When will Eid Al Fitr fall in 2020?
The holy month lasts between 29 to 30 days, depending on the moon sighting.
Ramadan this year began on April 24 in most Islamic countries. So, that means Eid Al Fitr, which translates from Arabic to the 'festival of breaking the fast', will likely begin on either Saturday, May 23, or Sunday, May 24.
The moon-sighting committee will likely begin searching for a new moon cycle on the night of Friday May 22, after maghrib prayers. If they spot the new moon, Eid Al Fitr will begin the next day. If not, Eid will begin on Sunday instead — meaning Ramadan will have lasted 30 days.
According to the list of public holidays released by the UAE Cabinet for this year, the Eid holiday will begin on the 29th day of Ramadan and last until Shawwal 3. This means, regardless of when Eid falls, the holiday is expected to begin from Friday May 22 and last until either Tuesday May 25 or Wednesday May 26 - depending on the length of Ramadan.
Holidays used to differ for public and private sector workers but these were unified by the government last year.
How is Eid celebrated in the UAE?
On the first day of Eid, Muslims wake up just before dawn to perform Eid prayers at mosques.
During Eid, Muslims tend to wear new clothes and visit family and friends. This year's celebrations are expected to be muted, with mosques still closed and gatherings limited to no more than five people in homes, as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Celebrations typically last for three days. In recent years, it became common practice to travel during Eid but, this year, no one will be able to travel because flights have been grounded.
For more information on the UAE's public holidays, visit this page.