Muslim Festivals in India 2023
Muslims in India make up 13 percent Indian population. They are spread out over a wide area and share general beliefs but speak different languages and belong to different sects. Those in Kashmir are Shiites. Those in West Bengal speak Bengali. Those in Bombay speak Hindi and Urdu. Muslim festivals are celebrated all over the country.
The important Muslim Festivals in India are Ramzan Fasting dates, Id-Ul-Fitr, Ramzan, Bakrid (Eid-al-Adha), Hijra – Islamic New Year, Moharam, and Miladi Nabi for the Indian Calendar Year. Islamic festivals are according to the Islamic Hijra calendar which is a lunar calendar. The social milieu in India makes Muslim celebrations much more diverse and enriching.
The annual festivals of Islam are based on a lunar calendar of 354 days, which makes the Islamic holy year independent of the Gregorian calendar. Muslim festivals make a complete circuit of the solar year every thirty-three years. The beginning of the Islamic calendar is the month of Muharram, the tenth day of which is Ashura, the anniversary of the death of Husayn, the son of Ali.
Major Festivals of Muslim
Hazarat Ali’s Birthday
Hazarat Ali’s birthday is celebrated globally by all Muslims, and it is an occasion of joy and happiness. Food is served, and families and friends get together to remember his great achievements. Mosques are decorated, a feast organized, and prayers held. Qawwalis (devotional music) are held that praise Hazarat Ali.
Lailat al Miraj
Lailat al Miraj or Shab e Miraj is a festival that translates as The Night of Ascent. This marks the journey of the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to what the Quran describes as the ‘farthest mosque in Jerusalem where he ascended to heaven.
Shab e-Barat is roughly translated to mean ‘night of records,’ this is considered to be the night that old sins are forgiven and fortunes for the coming year are decided. Shab e-Barat takes place on the full moon night and is dependent on the location of the previous new moon that signifies the start of the Sha’aban month. Shab-e-Barat, which is also known as Layalat al-Baraat.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is believed that the holy scripture, the Quran, was given to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad during this time. Followers of the Islamic faith will celebrate Ramadan by fasting, not eating or drinking any food or water from dawn to dusk each day. The holy month of Ramadan is a time for reflection, prayer, and absolving oneself of sin.
Laylat al-Qadr / Shab-e-Qadr
Laylat al-Qadr or Shab-e-Qadr is the night of power and blessings and is celebrated on the 27th night of Ramadan as the holiest Islamic night. Shab-e-Qadr is a Persian phrase meaning ‘the night of power‘ or ‘the night of respect‘. The last leg of Ramadan holds high significance as one of these nights is the Night of Decree. The night commemorates when the first revelation of the Holy Quran was done to Prophet Mohammad.
Eid-ul-Fitr, Ramadan ends
Marking the end of the month Ramzaan, Eid-ul-Fitr is one of the most joyous occasions in the Islamic calendar. It is a national holiday, which ends the month of fasting with almsgiving, services in mosques, and visits to friends and neighbors.
When Ramadan is finished, Muslims will celebrate with Eid al-Fitr or the “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.” During this celebration, children receive gifts from family and friends. Muslims may also recite a special prayer during the morning of Eid Day, followed by a community celebration with food and games.
Eid-ul-zuha/ Adha / Bakr-Id
Bakr Id, or Id al Zuha (Feast of Sacrifice), begins on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah and is a major holiday. This Eid is celebrated to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in accordance with the will of Allah. It marks the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the Muslim lunar calendar.
Al-Hijra, Muharram Begins
Al-Hijra, the Islamic New Year, is the first day of the month of Muharram ( Islamic New Year). It marks when the Prophet Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina and set up the first Islamic state. It begins at the first sighting of the lunar crescent after the new Moon in the month of Muharram. The word ‘Muharram’ in its literal sense means forbidden. Similar to the other sacred months, waging war or indulging in any kind of violence during this month is forbidden.
Ashura ( 10 Muḥarram )
Ashura is observed on the 10th day of Muharram and it is the most sacred day among all its days. The precise date is derived based mostly on the sighting of the Moon and the situation. On this day, Muslims take our large processions through the streets carrying Taziyeh (replicas of the mausoleum of Hussain Ali and others made from bamboo and paper) decorated with gilt and mica. Many Muslims observe partial fast as part of the mourning. Muslims belonging to the Shia sect often wear black clothes on Muharram.
Milad ul nabi / Id-e-Milad
Milad ul nabi is celebrated on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, which is the third month of the Islamic calendar. The day is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. 12th Rabi’ al-Awwal is the accepted date among most of the Sunni scholars, while most Shia scholars regard 17th Rabi’ al-Awwal as the accepted date, though not all Shias consider it to be this date.
Muslim Festival Calendar 2023
|Hazarat Ali’s Birthday||February 3-4||Friday – Saturday|
|Lailat al Miraj||February 18||Saturday|
|Shab I Barat||March 7 – 8||Tuesday – Wednesday|
|Ramadan Begins||March 23||Thursday|
|Laylat al-Qadr||April 18||Tuesday|
|Eid-ul-Fitr, Ramadan Ends||April 22||Saturday|
|Eid ul-Adha||June 29||Thursday|
|Al-Hijira, Muharram Begins||July 19||Wednesday|
|Muharram Ends||August 16||Wednesday|
|Milad un-Nabi||September 26 – 27||Tuesday – Wednesday|
|Milad un-Nabi (Shia)||September 27||Wednesday|