Eid al-Fitr, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in certain parts of the world, is a joyous occasion celebrated by Muslims around the world, marking the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting and spiritual reflection. It is a time for family and community gatherings, feasting, and expressing gratitude for the blessings received during the holy month. 

Eid Mubarak

One of the most beautiful aspects of Eid al-Fitr is the celebration of cultural diversity and inclusivity. While rooted in Islamic traditions, the celebration incorporates a rich tapestry of cultural practices and customs from diverse communities across the globe. From traditional rituals to customs inherited from generations past, Eid al-Fitr embraces the richness of cultural heritage and promotes mutual understanding and respect among people of different backgrounds.

Observing proper etiquette during Eid al-Fitr is essential to ensuring a harmonious and respectful celebration. Here, we outline some common mistakes to avoid and offer guidance on how to navigate this auspicious occasion with grace and consideration for others.

Big family at the dining table

What you should do:

1. Respect Cultural Traditions:

While the fundamental rituals and traditions of Eid remain consistent worldwide, diverse customs and practices exist across different regions and countries. It is important to appreciate and uphold the varied cultural traditions associated with Eid al-Fitr in each specific locale. 

Whether engaging in traditions, donning attire reflective of local customs, or relishing customary cuisines, demonstrate respect and enthusiasm for the rich tapestry of cultural practices observed during Eid celebrations globally.

2. Bring a Gift:

Express your gratitude for the host’s hospitality by arriving with a small gift or gesture of appreciation. This act mirrors the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who emphasized the importance of expressing gratitude and kindness towards others. 

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Give each other gifts and you will love each other.” (Sahih al-Bukhari). By bringing a gift, you not only show respect for the invitation but also contribute to fostering a spirit of generosity and camaraderie that characterizes Eid celebrations.

3. Dress Modestly:

Choose attire that is modest, refined, and culturally fitting for the occasion, taking into account the diverse sartorial traditions across various regions. In some countries like Indonesia, traditional Batik or Kebaya attire may be preferred, while in others like Pakistan, Salwar Kameez or Sherwani might be customary. 

Similarly, in Arab countries, the Thobe or Dishdasha for men and Abaya or Jalabiya for women are commonly worn on Eid. Regardless of the specific cultural attire, prioritize modesty and avoid clothing that may appear overly casual or revealing.

4. Greet Everyone:

Greet everyone, especially the elderly, and offer heartfelt greetings to each individual upon arrival, utilizing customary greetings specific to the region or country. For instance, in Malaysia, you may say “Selamat Hari Raya” or “Maaf Zahir dan Batin,” while in Egypt, “Eid Mubarak” is commonly used. This simple gesture of kindness fosters a sense of unity and goodwill among guests, regardless of cultural backgrounds.

5. Practice Patience and Tact:

Be patient and tolerant of differing opinions, beliefs, and behaviors, and strive to maintain a harmonious atmosphere throughout the celebration. Refrain from engaging in contentious discussions or debates that may detract from the joyous spirit of Eid al-Fitr.

6. Participate Actively in Festivities:

Engage enthusiastically in the festivities and activities planned for the celebration. Whether it’s performing the Eid prayers, visiting relatives and friends, or partaking in cultural performances and games, contribute positively to the festive ambiance of the gathering.

7. Offer Assistance and Help Clean Up:

Extend a helping hand to the host by offering assistance with tasks such as serving food, clearing dishes, or tidying up after the celebration. Your willingness to pitch in demonstrates your appreciation for their hospitality and eases the burden of hosting.

Eid Etiquettes

What you should avoid:

Avoid Initiating the “Salam” Greeting with Anyone That You Are Not the Mahram of:

It’s important to observe boundaries and respect the etiquette surrounding physical greetings. Avoid initiating the “salam” greeting with individuals to whom you are not the mahram of as this may be considered inappropriate and haraam. The term “mahram” (also spelled “muhrim”) refers to someone who is closely related to the individual, such as immediate family members or relatives through blood or marriage, with whom certain physical interactions are allowed according to Islamic teachings. This ensures that you uphold cultural norms and demonstrate respect for personal space and boundaries.

Arrive Empty-Handed:

Avoid showing up without a small gift or token of appreciation for the host. This simple gesture acknowledges the effort they’ve put into hosting the celebration and sets a positive tone for the gathering.

Forget to Thank the Host:

Before departing, express your heartfelt gratitude to the host for their hospitality and generosity. A simple thank you goes a long way in acknowledging their efforts and ensuring they feel appreciated for their hospitality.

Engage in Negative Behavior:

Avoid engaging in gossip, negative talk, or behavior that may disrupt the harmony of the celebration. Instead, focus on fostering positive and uplifting conversations that celebrate the joyous spirit of Eid. 

Disregard Personal Boundaries:

Respect the personal space and boundaries of others, especially when it comes to physical contact. Always ask for consent before initiating any form of physical interaction, ensuring everyone feels comfortable and respected.

Leave Without Saying Goodbye:

Bid farewell to the host and fellow guests before departing, expressing your well wishes and gratitude for the enjoyable celebration. Leaving without saying goodbye may be perceived as rude or inconsiderate, so take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the time spent together.

Avoid Unnecessary Remarks and Requests:

In some places, the emphasis may be more on exchanging gifts or sharing festive meals rather than giving monetary gifts. Exercise discretion by refraining from making unnecessary remarks or requests, such as soliciting gifts or “duit raya” (money given as a gift during Eid al-Fitr in many Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei). Regardless, it’s important to always practice grace and respect when visiting others. Avoid making crude remarks about people’s appearance, the condition of their house, or anything else that may offend them.

Overindulge in Food or Drink:

Exercise moderation when indulging in the delicious food and refreshments offered during Eid celebrations. Be mindful of others who may be fasting or have dietary restrictions, and refrain from overeating or drinking excessively. Always remember the etiquette of eating and drinking in Islam.

Muslim family at the dining table

Observing proper etiquette is crucial for ensuring a respectful and enjoyable celebration for all. By following these dos and don’ts, we can cultivate an atmosphere of warmth, inclusivity, and mutual respect that honors the spirit and the cultural traditions of Eid al-Fitr. Let us approach these joyous occasions with mindfulness and consideration for others, embodying the values of generosity, gratitude, and compassion that define the essence of Eid al-Fitr.