Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shaw'waal, at the completion of the month of Ramadan. Shaw'waal is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.
Eid (عيد) is an Arabic word referring to something habitual, that returns and is repeated. Eids or festivals are symbols to be found in every nation, including those that are based on revealed scriptures and those that are idolatrous, as well as others, because celebrating festivals is something that is an instinctive part of human nature. All people like to have special occasions to celebrate, where they can come together and express their joy and happiness.
The festivals of the kaafir (unbelievers) nations may be connected to worldly matters, such as the beginning of the year, the start of an agricultural season, the changing of the weather, the establishment of a state, the accession of a ruler, and so on. They may also be connected to religious occasions, like many of the festivals belonging exclusively to the Jews and Christians, such as the Thursday on which they claim the table was sent down to Jesus, Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, and holidays on which gifts are exchanged. These are celebrated in all European and North American countries nowadays, and in other countries where Christian influence is prevalent, even if the country is not originally Christian. Some so-called Muslims may also join in these holidays, out of ignorance or hypocrisy.
The Magians (Zoroastrians) also have their own festivals, such as Mahrajaan, Nowruz and so on.
The Baatinis have their own festivals too, such as Eid al-Ghadeer, when they claim that the Prop (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave the khilaafah to Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) and to the twelve imaams after him.
The Muslims are distinguished by their festivals
The Prophet's words Every nation has its festival, and this is your festival indicate that these two Eids are exclusively for the Muslims, and that it is not permissible for Muslims to imitate the kuffaar and mushrikeen in anything that is a distinctive part of their celebrations, whether it be food, dress, bonfires or acts of worship. Muslim children should not be allowed to play on those kaafir festivals, or to put up decorations, or to join in with the kuffaar on those occasions. All kaafir or innovated festivals are haraam, such as Independence Day celebrations, anniversaries of revolutions, holidays celebrating trees or accessions to the throne, birthdays, Labour Day, the Nile festival, Shimm al-Naseem (Egyptian spring holiday), teachers day, and al-Mawlood al-Nabawi (Prophet's Birthday).
The Muslims have no festivals apart from Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhaa (which is after the pliremge), because of the hadeeth narrated from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah and the people had two days when they would play and have fun. He said, "What are these two days?" They said, "We used to play and have fun on these days during the Jaahiliyyah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, "Allaah has given you something better than them, the day of Adhaa and the day of Fitr." (Sunan Abi Dawood, 1134)
These two Eids are among the signs or symbols of Allaah which we must celebrate and understand the aims and meanings behind them.
Taken from "Eid Etiquette and Rulings" by Sheikh Muhammad Salih al Munajjid with some modifications
Ahkaam al-Eid (Rulings on Eid)
It is haraam (not allowed) to fast on the days of Eid because of the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade fasting on the day of Fitr and the day of Sacrifice (Adhaa). (Reported by Muslim, 827)
Ruling on the Eid prayers
Some of the scholars say that Eid prayers are waajib (obligatory) this is the view of the Hanafi scholars and of Sheik al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him). They say that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) always prayed the Eid prayer and never omitted to do it, not even once. They take as evidence the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only) [al-Kawthar 108:2], i.e., the Eid prayer and the sacrifice after it, which is an instruction, and the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ordered that the women should be brought out to attend the Eid prayers, and that a woman who did not have a jilbaab should borrow one from her sister.
Some scholars say that Eid prayer is fard kifaaya (If some Muslims did it, then the rest of are not obligated to do it). This is the view of the Hanbalis. A third group say that Eid prayer is sunnah mu'akkadah(emphasized sunnah).This is the view of the Maalikis and Shaafa'is. They take as evidence the hadeeth of the Bedouin which says that Allaah has not imposed any prayers on His slaves other than the five daily prayers. So the Muslim should be keen to attend Eid prayers, especially since the opinion that it is waajib is based on strong evidence. The goodness, blessings and great reward one gets from attending Eid prayers, and the fact that one is following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by doing so, should be sufficient motivation.
Essentials and timing of Eid prayer
Some scholars (the Hanafis and Hanbalis) say that the conditions of Eid prayer are that the iqaamah should be recited and the prayer should be offered in jamaa'ah (congregation). Some of them said that the conditions of Eid prayer are the same as the conditions for Friday prayer, with the exception of the khutbah (sermon), attendance at which is not obligatory. The majority of scholars say that the time for the Eid prayer starts when the sun has risen above the height of a spear, as seen by the naked eye, and continues until the sun is approaching its zenith.
Description of the Eid prayer
Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The prayer of Eid and al-Adhaa is two complete rak'ahs, not shortened. This is according to the words of your Prophet, and the liar is doomed.
Abu Sa'eed said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to come out to the prayer-place on the day of Fitr and al-Adhaa, and the first thing he would do was the prayer.
The Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar which means: Allah is Great) is repeated seven times in the first rak'ah and five times in the second, the Quran is to be recited after each.
It was reported from Aisha: the Takbeer of al-Fitr and al-Adhaa is seven in the first rak'ah and five in the second, apart from the takbeer of rukoo'. (Reported by Abu Dawood; saheeh by the sum of its isnaads)
If a person joining the prayer catches up with the imaam during these extra takbeeraat, he should say Allaahu akbar with the imaam, and he does not have to make up any takbeeraat he may have missed, because they are sunnah, not waajib. With regard to what should be said between the takbeeraat, Hammaad ibn Salamah reported from Ibraaheem that Waleed ibn Uqbah entered the mosque when Ibn Mas'ood, Hudhayfah and Abu Moosa were there, and said, Eid is here, what should I do? Ibn Mas'ood said: Say Allaahu akbar, praise and thank Allaah, send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and make du'aa, then say Say Allaahu akbar, praise and thank Allaah, send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)&etc. (Reported by al-Tabaraani. It is a saheeh hadeeth that is quoted in al-Irwaa and elsewhere).
Recitation of Quran in Eid prayers
It is recommended (mustahabb) that in the Eid prayers the imaam should recite Qaaf [surah 50] and Aqtarabat al-saa'ah [al-Qamar, surah 54], as it is reported in Saheeh Muslim that Umar ibn al-Khattaab asked Abu Waaqid al-Laythi, What did the Messenger of Allaah(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite at [Eid] al-Adhaa and al-Fitr? He said, He used to recite Qaaf. Wal-Quran al-majeed [Surah: Qaaf 50:1] and Aqtarabat al-saa'ah wa anshaqq al-qamar [Surah: al-Qamar 54:1].
Most of the reports indicate that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite Soorat al-A'laa  and Soorat al-Ghaashiyah , as he used to recite them in the Friday prayer. Al-Nu'maan ibn Bishr said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite on the two Eids and on Fridays, Sabbih isma rabbika'l-a'laa [al-A'laa 87:1] and Hal ataaka hadeeth al-ghaashiyah [al-Ghaashiyah 88:1]. (Saheeh Muslim, 878).
Samurah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite on the two Eids, Sabbih isma rabbika'l-a'laa [al-Alaa 87:1] and Hal ataaka hadeeth al-ghaashiyah [al-Ghaashiyah Al-Irwaa, 3/116) 88:1]. (Reported by Ahmad and others; it is saheeh.
The prayer comes before the khutbah (Sermon)
One of the rulings of Eid is that the prayer should come before the khutbah, as is reported in Musnad Ahmad from the hadeeth of Ibn Abbaas, who testified that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed before the khutbah on Eid, then he gave the khutbah. (Musnad Ahmad, 1905. The hadeeth is also in al-Saheehayn).
Another indication that the khutbah should be after the prayer is the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed (may Allaah be pleased with him): The Prophet(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out to the prayer-place on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adhaa, and the first thing he would do was to pray, then he would stand up facing the people, whilst they were still sitting in their rows, and would advise and instruct them. If he wanted to send out a military expedition, he would decide about the matter then, or if he wanted to issue a command, he would do it then. Abu Sa'eed said: This is what the people continued to do until I came out [to the Eid prayers] with Marwaan, when he was governor of Madeenah, on either Adhaa or Fitr. When we reached the prayer-place, we saw the minbar (the stage where the person who recite the sermon stand on) which had been built by Katheer ibn al-Salt. Marwaan wanted to get on the minbar before the prayer. I pulled on his cloak, and he pulled on mine in return, then he got on the minbar and gave the khutbah before the prayer. I said, You have changed it, by Allaah! He said, O Abu Sa'eed, what you know is gone. I said, What I know, by Allaah, is better than what I do not know. He said, The people will not remain sitting after the prayer, so we made it [the khutbah] before the prayer. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 956).
Anyone who wants to leave during the khutbah is allowed to do so
Abd-Allaah ibn al-Saa'ib said: I attended Eid with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and when he finished the prayer, he said: We will give the khutbah, so whoever wants to sit (and listen to) the khutbah, let him sit, and whoever wants to leave, let him go. (Irwaa al-Ghaleel, 3/96)
Not delaying the prayer for too long
Abd-Allaah ibn Bishr, the companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), went out with the people on the day of Fitr or al-Adhaa, and objected to the fact that the imaam came very late. He said, At the time of the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) we would have finished by now, and that was at the time of al-Tasbeeh. (Reported by al-Bukhaari )
Naafil prayers in the prayer-place
There are no naafil prayers (additional/non obligated prayers) to be done either before or after the Eid prayer, as Ibn Abbaas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to come out on the day of Eid and pray two rak'ahs, with nothing before or after them.
This is the case if the prayer is offered in a prayer place or public place. If, however, the people pray the Eid prayer in a mosque, then they should pray two rak'ahs for Tahiyat al-Masjid (Greeting the mosque) before sitting down.
If people did not know about Eid until the next day
Abu Umayr ibn Anas reported from his paternal uncles among the Ansaar who said: It was cloudy and we could not see the new moon of Shawwaal, so we started the day fasting, then a caravan came at the end of the day and told the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that they had seen the new moon of Shawwaal the day before, so he told the people to stop fasting, and they went out to pray the Eid prayer the next day. (Reported by the five. It is saheeh; al-Irwaa, 3/102)
If someone misses the Eid prayer, the most correct view is that he may make it up by praying two rakahs.
Taken from "Eid Etiquette and Rulings" by Sheikh Muhammad Salih al Munajjid with some modifications
Hafsah said: We used to prevent prepubescent girls from attending Eid prayers. Then a woman came and stayed at the fort of Banu Khalaf, and told us about her sister. Her sister's husband had taken part in twelve campaigns with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and [she said], my sister was with him on six of them. She said, We used to treat the wounded and take care of the sick. My sister asked the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whether there was anything wrong with her not going out [on Eid] if she did not have a jilbaab (garment). He said, Let her friend give her one of her jilbaabs so that she may witness the blessings of Eid and see the Muslims gathering. When Um Atiyah came, I asked her, Did you hear the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) [say this]? She said, May my father be sacrificed for him and she never mentioned him without saying may my father be sacrificed for him I heard him saying that we should bring out the young girls and those who were secluded, or the young girls who were secluded, and the menstruating women, so that they could witness the blessings of Eid and see the gathering of the believers, but those who were menstruating were to keep away from the prayer-place itself. (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, 324).
Menstruating women huyyad, sing. haa'id this may refer either to girls who have reached the age of puberty, or women who are having their period and are not taahir (pure).
Menstruating women should avoid the prayer-place itself Ibn al-Munayyir said: The reason why they should avoid the prayer-place is that if they stand with the women who are praying even though they are not praying, it may appear that they have no respect for the prayer or are careless, so it better for them to avoid that.
It was said that the reason why menstruating women should avoid the prayer-place is as a precaution, so that women will not come near men for no reason if they are not praying, or so that they will not offend others with their blood or their odour.
The hadeeth urges everyone to attend Eid prayer, and to co-operate with one another in righteousness and piety. The menstruating woman should not forsake the remembrance of Allaah or places of goodness such as gatherings for the purpose of seeking knowledge and remembering Allaah apart from mosques.The hadeeth also indicates that women should not go out without a jilbaab.
This hadeeth tells us that it is not proper for young women and women in seclusion to go out except for a valid reason. It states that it is preferable (mustahabb) for a woman to wear a jilbaab (modest garment), and that it is permissible to lend and borrow clothes. It also indicates that Eid prayer is obligatory (waajib).
Ibn Abi Shaybah also narrated that Ibn Umar used to take whoever he could of his household out to the Eid prayers.
The hadeeth of Umm Atiyah also states the reason for the ruling, which is so that women may witness the blessings of Eid, see the gathering of the Muslims, and share the blessings and purification of this day.
Al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Sunan, after quoting the hadeeth of Umm Atiyah: Some of the scholars referred to this hadeeth and allowed women to go out to the Eid prayers, and some of them disliked this. It was reported that Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak said: I do not like for women to go out to Eid prayers nowadays. If a woman insists on going out, her husband should let her, if she goes out wearing her shabbiest clothes and not adorning herself. If she insists on adorning herself, then she should not go out. In this case the husband has the right to stop her from going out. It was reported that Aish (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: If the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had seen what has happened to women, he would have stopped them from going to the mosques, just as the women of Bani Isra''el were stopped. It was reported that Sufyaan al-Thawri did not like women to go to the Eid prayers in his day. (Al-Tirmidhi, 495).
Umm Atiyah gave her fatwa in the hadeeth mentioned above a while after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had died, and it is not reported that any of the Sahaabah disagreed with this. The words of Aisha, If the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had seen what has happened to women, he would have stopped them from going to the mosques, do not contradict this (provided that women are meeting the Islamic conditions attached to their going out)& It is better if permission is given only to those women who are not going to look at men or be looked at, whose attendence will not lead to anything undesirable and who are not going to rub shoulders with men on the street or in the mosque. (i.e., women whose going out will not cause fitnah or temptation to her or to men).
Men should check on their womenfolk when they going out for the prayer to make sure that their hijaab is complete, because they are the shepherds who are responsible for their flocks. Women should go out in shabby clothes, not adorned or wearing perfume. Menstruating women should not enter the mosque or prayer-place; they can wait in the car, for example, where they can hear the khutbah.
The Sunnahs that the Muslim should observe on the day of Eid are as follows:
1 – Doing ghusl (taking a shower) before going out to the prayer.
It was narrated in a saheeh hadeeth in al-Muwatta’ and elsewhere that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to do ghusl on the day of al-Fitr before going out to the prayer-place in the morning. (Al-Muwatta’ 428).
Al- Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said that the Muslims were unanimously agreed that it is mustahabb to do ghusl for Eid prayer.
The reason why it is mustahabb (preferable) is the same reason as that for doing ghusl before Jumu’ah (Friday prayer) and other public gatherings. Rather on Eid the reason is even stronger.
2 – Eating before going out to pray on Eid al-Fitr and after the prayer on Eid al-Adha:
Part of the etiquette is not to go out to pray on Eid al-Fitr until one has eaten some dates, because of the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari from Anas ibn Maalik, who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used not to go out on the morning of Eid al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates… of which he would eat an odd number. (Al-Bukhaari, 953).
It is mustahabb to eat before going out to emphasize the fact that it is forbidden to fast on that day and to demonstrate that the fast has ended.
Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) suggested that the reason for that was so as to ward off the possibility of adding to the fast, and to hasten to obey the command of Allaah. (Al-Fath, 2/446)
Whoever does not have any dates may break his fast with anything that is permissible.
But on Eid al-Adha it is mustahabb (preferable) not to eat anything until one comes back from the prayer, so he should eat from the udhiyah if he has offered a sacrifice. If he is not going to offer a sacrifice there is nothing wrong with eating before the prayer.
3 – Takbeer (Keep saying: Allah Akbar) on the day of Eid
This is one of the greatest Sunnahs on the day of Eid because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him”
It was narrated that al-Waleed ibn Muslim said: I asked al-Awzaa’i and Maalik ibn Anas about saying Takbeer out loud on the two Eids. They said, Yes, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to say it out loud on the day of al-Fitr until the imam came out (to lead the prayers).
It was narrated in a saheeh report that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sulami said, “They emphasized it more on the day of al-Fitr than the day of al-Adha.”. Wakee’ said, this refers to the takbeer. (See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 3/122/)
Al-Daaraqutni and others narrated that on the morning of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Ibn ‘Umar would strive hard in reciting takbeer until he came to the prayer place, then he would recite takbeer until the imam came out.
Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated with a saheeh isnaad that al-Zuhri said: The people used to recite Takbeer on Eid when they came out of their houses until they came to the prayer place, and until the imam came out. When the imam came out they fell silent, and when he said takbeer they said takbeer. (See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 1/121)
Saying takbeer when coming out of one's house to the prayer place and until the imam came out was something that was well known among the salaf (early generations). This has been narrated by a number of scholars such as Ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd a l-Razzaaq and al-Firyaabi in Ahkaam al-Eidayn from a group of the salaf. For example, Naafi’ ibn Jubayr used to recite takbeer and was astonished that the people did not do so, and he said, “Why do you not recite takbeer?”
Ibn Shihaab al-Zuhri (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to say, “The people used to recite takbeer from the time they came out of their houses until the imam came in.”
The time for takbeer on Eid al-Fitr starts from the night before Eid until the imam enters to lead the Eid prayer.
In the case of Eid al-Adha, the takbeer begins on the first day of Dhu’l-Hijjah and lasts until sunset on the last of the days of tashreeq.
Description of the takbeer:
It was narrated in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he used to recite takbeer during the days of tashreeq:
Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar, Allaah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd
(Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is most Great, there is no god but Allaah, Allaah is Most great, Allaah is most great, and to Allaah be praise).
It was also narrated elsewhere by Ibn Abi Shaybah with the same isnaad, but with the phrase “Allaahu akbar” repeated three times.
Al-Mahaamili narrated with a saheeh isnaad also from Ibn Mas’ood: “Allaahu akbaru kabeera, Allaahu akbaru kabeera, Allaahu akbar wa ajallu, Allaahu akbar wa Lillaah il-hamd (Allaah is Most Great indeed, Allaah is Most Great indeed, Allaah is most Great and Glorified, Allaah is Most Great and to Allaah be praise).” See al-Irwa’, 3/126.
4 – Offering congratulations
The etiquette of Eid also includes the congratulations and good wishes exchanged by people, no matter what the wording, such as saying to one another Taqabbala Allaah minna wa minkum (May Allaah accept (good deeds) from us and from you” or “Eid mubaarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.
It was narrated that Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: When the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) met one another on the day of Eid, they would say to one another, “May Allaah accept (good deeds) from us and from you.” Ibn Hajar said, its isnaad is hasan.(Al-Fath, 2/446).
Offering congratulations was something that was well known among the Sahaabah, and scholars such as Imam Ahmad and others allowed it. There is evidence which suggests that it is prescribed to offer congratulations and good wishes on special occasions, and that the Sahaabah congratulated one another when good things happened, such as when Allaah accepted the repentance of a man, they went and congratulated him for that, and so on.
Undoubtedly these congratulations are among the noble characteristics among the Muslims.
The least that may be said concerning the subject of congratulations is that you should return the greetings of those who congratulate you on Eid, and keep quiet if others keep quiet, as Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If anyone congratulates you, then respond, otherwise do not initiate it.
5 – Adorning oneself on the occasion of Eid.
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that ‘Umar took a brocade cloak that was for sale in the market and brought it to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, buy this and adorn yourself with it for Eid and for receiving the delegations.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Rather this is the dress of one who has no share (of piety or of reward in the Hereafter)…” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 948).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) agreed with ‘Umar on the idea of adorning oneself for Eid, but he denounced him for choosing this cloak because it was made of silk.
It was narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a cloak which he would wear on the two Eids and on Fridays. (Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 1756,
Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad that Ibn ‘Umar used to wear his best clothes on Eid. So a man should wear the best clothes that he has when going out for Eid.
With regard to women, they should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for Eid, because they are forbidden to show off their adornments to non-mahram men. It is also haraam for a woman who wants to go out to put on perfume or to expose men to temptation, because they are only going out for the purpose of worship.
6 – Going to the prayer by one route and returning by another.
It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: On the day of Eid, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to vary his route. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 986.)
It was said that the reason for that was so that the two routes would testify for him on the Day of Resurrection, for the earth will speak on the Day of Resurrection and say what was done on it, both good and bad.
And it was said that it was in order to manifest the symbols of Islam on both routes, or to manifest the remembrance of Allaah (dhikr), or to annoy the hypocrites and Jews, and to scare them with the large number of people who were with him. And it was said that it was in order to attend to the people’s needs, to answer their questions, teach them, set an example and give charity to the needy, or to visit his relatives and uphold the ties of kinship.
Source with slight modifications