Muslims Begin Eid al-Fitr Celebration

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the monthlong fast for Ramadan, begins today, with Southland Muslims celebrating with communal prayers.

The prayers mark the beginning of the Eid ul-Fitr, the feast of fast- breaking holiday, in which Muslims exchange social visits and seek to strengthen family and community bonds.

Eid prayers are often held in public facilities to accommodate the large number of attendees.

The prayer program usually begins with 30 minutes of takbirat, praise of God and the Prophet Muhammad. Each Eid prayer has a motivational sermon, known as khutba, according to Kristen Stangas, the communication coordinator of the Islamic Center of Southern California.

During the holiday, Muslims greet each other by saying ``Eid mubarak'' meaning ``blessed Eid'' and ``taqabbalallah ta'atakum,'' which means ``may God accept your deeds.'' Many communities also hold multicultural bazaars and other family activities following the prayers.

Eid ul-Fitr is the first of the two major Muslim holidays during the year. The second holiday, Eid ul-Adha, comes near the end of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

``Melania and I wish Muslims across the United States and around the world a blessed Eid al-Fitr,'' President Donald Trump said in the presidential message on Eid al-Fitr issued Friday.

``Eid marks the end of a month of reflection and a return to daily life with a renewed sense of joy and love for our fellow man. It is a time to practice forgiveness and an opportunity to strengthen relationships within and among communities.

``Today, as we reflect on the important place religion has in the story of America and in the lives of those who are faithful, we hope that the spirit of peace and goodwill that surrounds and infuses this Eid celebration continues throughout the year and around the world. We wish all Muslims a very happy Eid al-Fitr.''

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