Eid al Adha and Eid al Fitr are the two main holidays in Islam, but even though they are both called ‘Eid’, there’s a big difference between them – in how and why they are celebrated.
Here’s a look
Before getting to the difference, here’s one quick thing to know. Muslims go by, what’s called the Lunar Calendar – which is based on the monthly Moon cycles. Most of the world follows, what’s called the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the sun.
This is why months in the Lunar Calendar differ from the more common, solar one.
Now, a quick word about the Muslim month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim (Lunar) calendar and is observed as the holy month of fasting by Muslims. It lasts approximately from April 2 to May 1 in 2022 (dates vary depending on the appearance of the crescent moon and could also be different in different timezones and countries.)
But, why is the month of Ramadan so important?
According to Islam, God (Allah) revealed the Qurʾān, which is Islam’s holy book, to Prophet Muhammad during this month – on the “Night of Power”, which was one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, usually thought of as the 27th night.
The Qurʾān was revealed, “as a guide for the people.”
For Muslims, thus, the month of Ramadan is a period to think and reflect and pray together. They believe that God forgives the past sins of those who observe this holy month with good intention, fasting, and prayer.
Now about the two Eids and their differences.
Eid al Fitr is celebrated on the first day in the month of Shawwal – the tenth month – and marks the end of the month of Ramadan, and literally means ‘Feast of the Breaking Fast’. It’s all about feasting, wearing new clothes, and praying.
Eid al Fitr is also called ‘Meetha Eid’ because on this day a sweet dish named sewwaiyyan is made and shared among family and friends
Eid al Adha
Contrary to Eid al Fitr, on this day, Muslims are supposed to sacrifice a lamb/goat while being on an empty stomach.
Eid al Adha, which means ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, is celebrated in the 12th month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar. It’s also called Bakrid (because goats are sacrificed)
Why are the goats sacrificed on this day?
The story has to do with Abraham’s willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. According to Islam, Abraham – also known as Ibrahim, who was a messenger of God – was asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. A devoted Abraham agreed, but when he started to the command, his son was miraculously replaced by a lamb.
This is why on this Eid, Muslims sacrifice goats or lambs.