There are two Eid festivals in a year. One is called Eid-ul-Fitr and the other, which comes about 10 weeks later is called Eid-ul-Adha. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated at the end of the month of fasting. On this day, Muslim rejoice for having been given the strength to fulfil their obligation of fasting.
Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated on the 10th of the month of Thul-Haj to commemorate the obedience of Hadhrat Ibrahim and his son Hadhrat Ishmael, peace be on both of them. Allah accepted the devotion and obedience of both of them and directed that a lamb be sacrificed instead of Hadhrat Ishmael, peace be upon him. Muslims who gather in Makkah for Hajj, offer their sacrifices on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, following the example of Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him. This act of sacrifices animals is repeated by Muslims all over the world.
All Muslims, men, women, and children, join in the congregational two Raka’at Prayer held in the open outside a village or town, if possible, on both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha occasions.
Early in the morning, on an Eid day, after taking a bath, Muslims, young and old, put on their best clothes. Children specially, wear new garments. Perfume is worn by men and women alike, as it was the practice of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings Allah be upon him, to wear perfume on such occasion. Specially dishes are prepared on Eid days in Muslim homes.
On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, one should pay Fitrana before the Eid Prayer. Fitrana is spent on the poor and needy so that they, too, can join in the festivities of Eid Every member of the household is required to contribute towards the Fitrana at the rate fixed for that year. Fitrana is due in respect of children also, even of newborn babies, whose parents are expected to make the nescessary payments. One should have a full breakfast before proceeding to the Eidgah, the place where Eid Prayer is offered. On the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, it is reported that Rasul ullah, (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) preferred not to eat anything until he slaughtered his own animal for sacrifice. With the meat of that sacrifice he would have the first meal of the day, but to eat before that is not forbidden.
As was the practice of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Muslims generally go to the Eid-gah by one route and return by another route.
The time for Eid Prayer is before noon. Like Friday Prayer, Eid Prayer is always offered in congregation. No Athan or Iqama is called for Eid Prayers.
In the first Raka’at of Eid Prayer, after reciting Takbeer-i-Tahreema and Thanaa, but before reciting Atta’-awwuz the Imam raises his hands to his earlobes seven times saying Allahu Akbar each time in a loud voice and then drops his arms to his side each time until after the seventh Takbeer when he folds his arms the normal fashion and proceeds with the Prayer. The followers also raise their hands to their earlobes saying Allahu Akbar but in an inaudible voice and then leave their hands hanging by their sides as done by the Imam. In the second Rak’at there are five Takbeerat, i.e. the Imam and the followers raise their hands to their ears five times saying Allahu Akbar and then leaving them hanging on their sides each time.
At the end of second Rak’at, after the recitation of At’tashahud, and Durood and some of the prescribed Prayers, the Imam turns his face towards the right saying Assalamo Alalkum wa Rahmatullah and then turn his face to the left saying the same, to mark the end of the Prayer.
After the Eid Prayer, the Imam delivers a sermon. Like for the Friday Prayer, Eid sermon consists of two parts. It should be noted that the sermon for the Friday Prayer precedes the Prayer, while on the occasion of Eid, the sermon follows the Prayer.
After the two Rak’at Eid-ul-Adha Prayer, the Imam and the congregation recite the following words of glorification of God in an audible voice:
**** Arabic text **************
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la ilaha illallahu wallhu akbar Allahu Akbar, wa lillahil hamd.
Note: To recite the abovementioned verses while going to the Eid gah and while coming back, is to follow the practice of the Holy Prophet of Islam, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.