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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Iran Series at PersianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Iranian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 5, Feast of Fast-Breaking. In Persian, it’s called Eid ul-Fitr.
After Ramadan comes the Feast of Fast-Breaking. Celebrated on the first day of the following month, called Shawwal. This is a day in which Muslims all over the world enjoy a large feast to mark the end of the month of Ramadan.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What does Fetr mean, and why is the Feast of Fast-Breaking called Eide Fetr?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Ramadan lasts for one month of the lunar calendar, and the Feast of Fast-Breaking occurs on the first crescent moon of Ramadan. In Persian, crescent moon is helaal-e maah. In Iran, the crescent moon is first observed and then officially declared by the religious ruler of the country. Actually observing this first crescent can be difficult due to its extreme thinness, its nearness to the horizon, and potentially cloudy weather conditions. But once it is observed and officially declared, Eide Fetr is held the next day, beginning the two-day public holiday that follows.
After a full month of refraining from eating and drinking during the day as a means of achieving a more spiritual mindset, the fasting period of Ramadan finally comes to a close. Of course, this does not mean that praying and refraining from sins or gonaah ends; rather, it’s expected that Muslims continue to pray and maintain their religious values with even more awareness and vigor than before. The true philosophy behind the month of Ramadan is to reach this hidden awareness. Only this way can one claim he has passed the divine test successfully and with honors.
On the morning of the Festival of Fast-Breaking, people pray in large congregations or groups. Another common practice on this day is to perform ablutions, which in Persian is called ghosl kardan. These ablutions are a part of the old traditions of Islam, and are a symbol, or namaad, of the body and soul’s purification from spiritual corruption during the month of Ramadan. Holding congregational prayers is also a symbol of the conformity, integrity, intimacy, and spiritual unity of people. Muslims also recognize a tradition of tithing at this time, referred to as Zakat-e Fetr or Fetrieh. This tithe is money that wealthy Muslims pay to the needy or to charity organizations, and is equivalent to the cost of three kilograms of staple foods, such as wheat or rice.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What does Fetr mean, and why is the Feast of Fast-Breaking called Eide Fetr?
The word Fetr literally means "initial creation." After fasting and refraining from sins for a whole month, man is thought to cleanse his soul and revert to his initial state of purity from the time of his creation.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Is there a similar festival in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at PersianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!