Celebrating Eid by Simi Amini, Finance Assistant at The Mid Yorks Hospital NHS Trust

Simi Amini, Finance Assistant at The Mid Yorks Hospital NHS Trust shares their experiences of celebrating Eid festival.

What cultural holiday do you celebrate?

I am Muslim therefore Eid is a festival I celebrate. There are two Eid’s in the year with different meanings.

Eid ul-Fitr translates as ‘the festival of the breaking of the fast’. Which is the celebration to mark the end of the month of Ramadhan (fasting from sunrise to sunset for who is fit and well to do so) Eid begins with the first sighting of the new moon.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.

It is considered one of the holiest Islamic months.

Observing the fast during Ramadan is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. These are five principles which Muslims believe are compulsory acts ordered by God.

Muslims believe that some of the first verses of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. Extra emphasis is placed on reciting the Quran at this time.

Fasting is considered to be an act of worship, which enables Muslims to feel closer to God and strengthen their spiritual health and self-discipline.

Eid al-Adha

This is the month where Muslims from across the world make the pilgrimage to Mecca known as Hajj, if fit to do so, expected to do it at least once in their lifetime. As it is known as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’, a sheep, goat, camel or cow is usually sacrificed during the period.

The day to observe big Eid depends on the sighting of the new moon after the conclusion of the holy Hajj pilgrimage. Since the festival depends on the lunar calendar, it falls on different dates every year. Additionally, it can even fall on different dates in various parts of the world in the same year. The sacrifice continues for 3 days, and the celebrations can last for 3 or more days depending upon the traditions of various countries. 

Importance of Eid ul Adha

Eid ul Adha is an annual celebration of the Islamic faith. Commemorating the story of Ibrahim’s unwavering belief in Allah, it focuses on sacrifice, devotion, charity, and compassion. Muslims enthusiastically celebrate this auspicious festival to honour and remember Ibrahim’s loyalty toward Allah every year. The celebration of big Eid reminds Muslims of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son to show his utter devotion to Allah. This prompts devotees to consider their own obedience and devotion to Allah. This day provides Muslims with a chance to seek forgiveness for the times when they have failed to fully devote themselves to Allah and pray for the strength needed to remain devoted in the future.

How do you celebrate and with whom?

Both Eid’s first priority is to be clean, wear new clothes and attend prayers in congregation thanking God for your blessings and praying for people around the world who are in less fortunate circumstances as well as donating to charities.

The tradition for Eid al-Adha involves sharing the meal in three equal parts – for family, for relatives and friends, and for poor people who cannot afford their own meals.

Eid al-Fitr is also celebrated with lots of food! Meeting lots of friends and family. The night before ladies/girls design each other’s henna on their hands as a tradition. Children are given gifts/money/sweets and a day of fun is planned for the family which can consist of family quizzes, games, outdoor sport and eating!

What do you enjoy most about this holiday?

Spending time with your family, wearing new clothes, preparing and eating food!

Does your organisation/trust get involved with the celebrations?

I have only started in the Trust 3 months ago but I am looking forward to being part of organising/helping if needed! In my past employment we had a community get together consisting of food (biryani, samosas/chutney/chaat/desserts) and games and mehndi/henna stalls with children getting involved.

How can others get involved in sharing the celebration?

On Eid day you wish each other by saying “Eid Mubarak!” “Eid” is Arabic for “celebration” and “mubarak” means “blessed”. The saying can be translated as “have a blessed holiday”. Or saying “Happy Eid!”. It is then customary to reply “Khair Mubarak”. This reciprocates good wishes in the hope they will also have a “blessed holiday.” You could also say “JazakAllah Khair” which means thank you, but literally translates as “May Allah reward you with goodness”.

In the Trust there could be a one dish party lunch organised within your team following after the actual Eid day. And always ask your Muslim colleagues about the holiday if curious they will never mind!

Read the NHS Finance Equality, Diversity & Inclusion action plan here.