Afro, this article had me cracking up (can I have Monday off? no, tuesday. lol)
When is Eid 2014? It could be Monday or Tuesday, it might be Sunday …
al-Fitr – the feast at the end of Ramadan – begins with the sighting of
the new moon. But can you use a telescope, or just the naked eye? And
what if it's cloudy?
Serious question: when is Eid? There's a joking-but-actually-quite-accurate pie chart
that breaks down when you know the month of Ramadan is over. The
largest chunk suggests: "just keep fasting until phone explodes with Eid
texts". It's not bad advice.
The Islamic calendar is lunar, which
is why the timing of Ramadan is not a fixed thing, and consequently why
Eid wanders a bit. In the old days, the patriarch returned from the
mosque one evening around 29 or 30 days into the month to say: "Look
lively – it's Eid tomorrow." I was brought up with the understanding
that when the new moon is sighted in Saudi Arabia (signalling the start
of the month of Shawwal), it's time for Eid. But of course, as with all
things around religion, there are shades of grey. Some scholars, for example, argue that the moon
must be seen with the naked eye, while others say it is just as valid
if seen through the lens of a telescope. There are some who say an
astronomical calculation is good enough, and people who argue this is a
Geography matters too, which explains why your cousins in
Birmingham sometimes celebrate Eid a day before or after you do in
London. Then there is weather to contend with: if you're an adherent of
the "naked eye moon sighting system", what happens on a cloudy night?
it confusing? A little. Taking time off work can become a tricky
little adventure with the HR department – "Can I have Monday off,
please? No, make it Tuesday. Nope, Monday!" – something that might be a
stumbling block for Harrow MP Bob Blackman in his quest to make Eid (and Diwali) public holidays.
We'll never have an official countdown with "x shopping days until Eid"
but that's OK. Part of the joy of Eid is the thrill of not knowing precisely when it's coming.
Sometimes, it really is as simple as waiting for the floods of celebratory calls. Eid Mubarak!