We help you celebrate Muslim holidays with fun crafts and ideas!
Hello Holy Days! is a Canadian website providing North American parents with fun crafts and ideas for Muslim holidays. On our pages you can find inspiration for the holy days of Ramadan and Hajj as well as for the two major holidays, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.
- What are Muslim holidays?
There are two major Muslim holidays and each lasts for 3 days. In English, these holidays are often referred to by their Arabic name; the first holiday is referred to as “Eid Al-Fitr” meaning “Festival of Breaking Fast” and the second as “Eid Al-Adha” meaning “Festival of Sacrifice.”
Not all Muslims refer to these holidays by their Arabic names – different languages have different names or different pronunciations for these holidays. It’s similar to how we say “Christmas” in English but in Dutch it’s pronounced “Kerstmis” and in French, for example, it goes by a completely different name, “Noel”. (On our website you’ll see us using the English spelling for Muslim holidays which happens to take the Arabic names.)
Both Muslim holidays occur after a period of holy days. Culturally these holy days are also a festive time of year (and hence the name of our website – Hello Holy Days!)
The first holiday, “Eid Al-Fitr” occurs on the first day after a whole month of holy days. This month is called Ramadan (or Ramazan) and lasts for 29 – 30 days; it is the 9th lunar month. In Ramadan, observing Muslims complete the fourth pillar of Islam by fasting from dawn to sunset.
The second holiday, “Eid Al-Adha” occurs on the last day of a set of 10 holy days in the 12th (and last) lunar month called Dhul-Hijjah (or Zhul-Hijjah). During these holy days, observing Muslims complete the fifth and final pillar of Islam, “Hajj”, a pilgrimage taken to Mecca and nearby holy sites. Those not going to Mecca that particular year (most Muslims fall under this category since Hajj is only required once in a lifetime) might keep a fast during these holy days instead.
- When are Muslim holidays?
The dates for Muslim holidays are derived from the Islamic calendar which is a fully lunar calendar consisting of 12 months with 29 – 30 days per month. On the Islamic calendar, Muslim holidays occur on the same date every year, namely 1st of Shawwal (the 10th lunar month) for Eid Al-Fitr and the 10th of Dhul Hijjah (the last last lunar month) for Eid Al-Adha.
Because Muslim holidays follow a lunar calendar, on the solar Gregorian calendar their dates change every year. They occur approximately 11 days earlier than they did the previous year. For this reason, Muslim holidays are not associated with any one season in the way other North American holidays are. During a period of some years, Muslim holidays can be experienced in all 4 seasons.
In North America, it’s common to see some Muslims celebrating Eid on one day and other Muslims celebrating it a day later. This occurs because there are two different ways to calculate lunar dates: the Global Moon Sighting Method or Local Moon Sighting Method. It’s similar to how Easter, which follows a lunar-solar calendar, is celebrated on different days by Christians who follow the Eastern Church and those who follow the Western Church since each church has it’s own take on how Easter dates should be calculated.
- How are Muslim holidays celebrated?
Muslim holiday traditions vary based on sect, school of thought, culture and of course an individual’s unique family traditions. To learn about traditions common amongst all Muslims, see our traditions page. To learn about Muslim holiday traditions specific to a certain culture, visit our blog. If you’d like to share how Muslim holidays are celebrated in your culture, write a blog post for us or submit a topic suggestion by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Blog”.