President Rodrigo Duterte has declared May 25 as a regular holiday for the observance of Eid’l Fitr or the culmination of the Fasting of Ramadan.
Duterte signed Proclamation No. 944 on Tuesday after the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) recommended to declare the date a national holiday.
“In order to bring the religious and cultural significance of Eid’l Fitr to the fore of national consciousness, it is necessary to declare Monday, 25 May 2020, a regular holiday throughout the country,” the proclamation read.
Eid al-Fitr is traditionally celebrated by families gathering in large congregation for an Eid prayer to express gratitude to Allah for having been able to perform their personal sacrifices.
Amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the proclamation also reminded the Muslim community to observe community quarantine and safe physical distancing measures.
“The entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony in the observance and celebration of Eid’l Fitr, subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures,” it read.
Mindanao, home to majority of Muslim Filipinos, is currently under a less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ).
Metro Manila, Laguna, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Zambales are under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) while only Cebu and Mandaue cities were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from May 16 to 31.
Eid’l Fitr, one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, is observed by the Muslim community three days after the month-long Ramadan fasting.
The other important celebration, Eid al-Adha of The Feast of the Sacrifice, is celebrated on the 10th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar and commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son to God. Eid al-Adha also marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, the 5th Pillar of Islam.
Muslim Filipinos comprise about six percent of the population.
To honor country’s Islamic heritage, the government in 2002 established Eid’l Fitr as a regular holiday by virtue of Republic Act 9177 and Presidential Proclamation 1083.
The first national commemoration of Eid al-Fitr was in December 2002, observed with an Eid prayer and a feast.
The holiday is determined by the use of the lunar-based Islamic calendar through the sighting of the crescent moon in the Islamic month of Shawwal. (Azer Parrocha, PNA)