'Eid': Arabic word for holiday rings with familial, personal, religious and communal notes

Eid's English translation as festival, feast or holiday is a correct but fragmentary definition

Our Arabic word of the week is eid, which means 'holiday' or 'festival' in English.

Few Arabic words are as luminous, reflective and warm as eid.

Its English translation to festival, feast or holiday, is a correct but fragmentary definition. The word resonates on familial, personal, religious and social levels. Eids are not just days to celebrate, but to commemorate, self reflect and mend.

There are two main Eids in the Muslim faith: collectively known as the Eidain.

Eid Al Fitr, which is projected to begin this Sunday evening, is the earlier of the two. The holiday marks the end of Ramadan and dawn-to-sunset fasting. As such, the name translates to Feast of Breaking the Fast. It begins at the sight of the new moon and marks the first day of the month of Shawwal.

The second Eid is Eid Al Adha. Translating to Feast of the Sacrifice, the holiday honours Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as a show of obedience to Allah. Halal domestic animals, such as sheep, goats, cows or camels, are ritually slaughtered, with two thirds of the meat being distributed to the needy.

The holiday falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and continues for four days.

While the Eidain are the primary holidays celebrated in Islam, there are several other religious and secular Eids that make the word a good way to branch out into other common terms.

Eid milad is birthday.

Eid Mawlid El Nabawi is the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, celebrated on the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.

Eid El Nayrouz is the Feast of Nayrouz, a holiday of the Coptic Orthodox Church to commemorate martyrs and confessors. It is celebrated on September 11, which also marks the start of the Coptic New Year.

Eid Al Istiqlal is independence day. Eid Al Ummal is Labour Day. Eid Al Umm is Mother’s Day. Eid Al Ab, Father’s Day.

Eid zawaj is a wedding anniversary. Eid zahabi is a golden 50th jubilee, whereas eid al fuddi marks the silver, the 25th anniversary.

Finally, if you want to wish your friends a happy Eid, you could say Eid Mubarak or Eid Saeed. It won’t hurt if you get them a gift, or an eidiyeh, as well.

Updated: April 29, 2022, 6:18 PM