Eid ul Fitr
When the new moon is sighted and the month of fasting (Ramadhan) comes to an end, the first of the new month (Shawwal) is the day of Eid ul Fitr. 'Fitr' means to break and it is called thus as God has permitted the breaking of the fast on this day.
It is also a 'festival of charity'. It is incumbent upon all Muslims to begin the day by paying Zakat ul Fitr - a special religious tax. This is paid before the prayers. It is an act of worship just as important as the prayers.
The special Eid congregational prayer consists of a brief two unit prayer followed by a sermon.
After the prayers, it is the norm to visit relatives and friends, exchanging greetings.
Culture dictates the food that is prepared for Eid. However, in many parts of the Muslim world a special kind of sweet is prepared with thin vermicelli. It is said (no religious reason) that it was to signify harmony and unity amongst Muslims. The strands of vermicelli despite the diversity of size, colour and thickness all intertwined.
Eid ul Fitr becomes a means of strengthening family and friendship ties as well as serving to be an occasion for a get together for the community at large.