This celebration is very significant to every Filipino-Muslim; let us offer them our respect by granting this day as theirs.
Muslims populate the Philippines, with the majority of our Muslim brothers and sisters residing in Mindanao, although they also live throughout the country.
June 6 has already been declared a national holiday in observance of Eid’l Fitr or the feast celebrated at the end of Ramadan. The Philippine government has been observing this as a national public holiday in the Philippines since 2002. Its main concern is to orderly promote peace and goodwill among the minority of Muslims and majority of the Christians in the country.
Let us know what our Muslim brothers and sisters do or practice during this day. You have probably heard of this feast many times and might wonder why the date of celebration always changes.
That is a fact, because there is actually no specific date for this event since the Islamic Calendar – Hijri, has been grounding its months on lunar cycles. Islamic month usually begins with the first new moon then the sunset of the last day of the previous month.
“Eid al-Fitr.” Now don’t even try to utter this word if you’re unaware of its actual meaning, unless you want to risk sounding funny or feeling embarrassed. If you wish to greet your Muslim friends you should say Eid’l Fitr Al-Mubarak meaning “The Great Feast of Sacrifice”.
Eid al-Fitr actually means “Feast of the Breaking of the Fast”. This feast has alternative names but in the Philippines it’s more recognized that way. Muslims generally celebrate Eid’l Fitr for three exact days, marking the end of the holy month of fasting. Observing fasting during Ramadan, the fourth of the 5 Pillars of Islam, is a mandatory act in Muslim life.
Other countries way of rejoicing may be different from each and other Muslim tribes. But there are traditions being observed by the Filipino-Muslims.
Right after the communal prayer service, the worshippers rejoice and greet each other with the traditional greetings of Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid) or Eid Sa-id (Happy Eid).
Greetings cards may also be exchanged between friends and family. Our Filipino-Muslim brothers usually say this in the Arabic language but mostly of our brothers there speak Maranao, Maguindanaon, Tausug, or even in Visayan.
Also they hand out zakat (alms in the form of food) to the needy during the celebration. Another tradition that continues is the practice of visiting the elderly and the sick to offer greetings.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has set and mounted cultural performances in Cotabato City last year, a month before observance of Eid’l Fitr. This is to highlight the Bangsamoro tribal culture including Maguindanaon, Tausug, Samal, Maranao, Yakan, Iranun, and Teduray.
Eid’l Fitr’s message rings clearer than today’s jollification. And for Muslims, they are looking after their community and also after humanity.