Eid-al-Fitr (Breaking of the Fast) is the largest religious festival of Muslims and marks the end of Ramadan, which is a month of fasting and prayer; it is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal. Many Muslims attend communal prayers seeking divine blessings, listen to a khutba (sermon) and give zakat al-fitr (charity in the form of food) during Eid al-Fitr. Zakat al-fitr is a form of charity consisting of a quantity of food, such as barley, dates, raisins or wheat flour, or its monetary equivalent given to the poor.
After 30 days of fasting, Muslims celebrate this auspicious occasion with a lot of joy and happiness. Bangladeshi people start preparation early during Ramadan by shopping for their family, friends and the poor. Shopping malls are decorated and lit up with lights for Eid. On the night before Eid (Chand raat meaning moon sight night), women of all ages like to decorate their hands with henna. Salutation after sighting of the moon and holding fare are a tradition in the Muslim community. Exchanging of greeting cards is also part of Eid; children make special hand-made greeting cards for their friends and family. Everyone wears new dresses on this special day; kids collect ‘salami’ (cash gift) from the elderly; people visit their relatives where they enjoy the elaborate preparation of festive food (shemai, jarda, korma, polao) and drinks.