Eid Al Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims. Eid is a special time of year to gather with family and friends and greet one another in the spirit of peace and love. In our ever-changing and diverse society, it's good to take a look at what it means to each of us. Read on and find out what Gulf News readers have to say.

Social celebrations are necessary to build communities.

It depends on the religion of the country. If a country follows a single religion then it may help to strengthen the bonds. However, if there are several religious sects then there might be clashes that would weaken a community's bond. Also, people from different cultures may be unwilling to support celebrations other than their own.
– Anas Assainar

Festivals are a good way to get to know people since there are many different nationalities in the same place, at the same time. Nowadays people are extremely focused on work and so have become cold to one another. A good way to unwind is to get to know each other. That way you can learn about the country as well.
– Vanessa Siemens

Celebrations are essential and everyone should respect the values of different cultures. The UAE is a Muslim country so Eid is celebrated here. My husband regularly joins us at iftar, which strengthens the bonds of my family. It also allows children to learn about different cultures and helps people to respect each other by learning about their cultures and celebrations.
– Louise Carrington

Different people from different cultures can interact and that will bring them closer together. The more they get to know one another, the more they will learn about different beliefs and celebrations. Once they are close, they will become united. This may help bring people from all walks of life together. It can also be a way to stop wars from happening.
– Soujanya Kodha

The spiritual significance of Eid has been lost to commercialism.

In democratic countries, you see different people participating in different religious events, regardless of what background they come from, just so they can understand and appreciate each other more. I see that this is missing here sometimes, although many people do invite each other and celebrate together. Still, I think a lot more can be done.
- Shaikh Rahmatullah

Nowadays, occasions like Eid are all about buying and shopping. People wait all year to take advantage of sales at the stores and they concentrate more on the discounts and bargains rather than on what the occasion truly stands for. I think it gets more commercialised with every passing year.
– Sukaina Mushtaq

Eid is not spiritual anymore. Everything about it has become commercialised and emphasis is being placed on material things instead of focusing on family ties. Many are choosing to travel, sometimes to separate destinations by themselves. Many families are missing members for several reasons and so instead of being together for this special occasion, they are missing people.
– Ahmad Shala

The way we celebrate Eid and other religious occasions now is just very different from how people before us did. It's not any more like it was before. People are too involved with their own lives and going out of the way to meet relatives or taking the time to truly understand the spirit of Eid is just not a priority anymore.
– Mevvish Aziz

People make it a point to go home on festive occasions.

People definitely look forward to meeting their extended family and friends on big occasions like Eid, especially expatriates who don't have many relatives here. Celebrating with loved ones is an important part of many religions and lots of people uphold that by trying to reconnect with them by flying back to their home countries.
– Shahid Bashir

Occasions like Eid are the best time for people to renew old bonds and it's natural that many people consider going back home to meet their relatives and old friends. Everyone looks forward to meeting family members they have not met in a long time. Festive events give people the chance to put aside all differences and celebrate together.
– Samreen Hayat

Along with the spirituality of the occasion, Eid brings a joy of triumph in every Muslim for having fasted throughout the month of Ramadan. Who better than another Muslim can understand this euphoria? People enjoy participating in family gatherings and social get-togethers, and occasions like Eid bring together different communities to celebrate in harmony.
– Farhana Zaman

As the UAE has a large percentage of expatriates, they feel the need to connect with near and dear ones back home, especially if it is a religious festival. Also, because of the rising costs, many expatriates here live a bachelor's existence, while their families are back home. That's why occasions like these make for very special reunions.
– Niranjan Gidwani

Parents need to make more of an effort to make children understand the religious significance of events like Eid.

Children are unable to understand the point of religious occasions because their parents often don't explain the significance of such events. Eid gatherings and celebrations are usually done without them knowing why they're participating in it. Parents should inculcate the understanding of religious events in their children so that they feel the importance of the day and not think of it as just another holiday.
– Noorin Ansari

If your parents don't teach you about your religion and the importance of occasions like Eid, then who will? People are moving away from their religion and not taking it seriously. I'm not surprised when I find that a lot of people have no idea about the history of Eid. Everyone is too busy having a good time and enjoying their break.
– Ahmad Hayat

Eid is an occasion for families and friends to reunite, and a lot of happiness and love marks the end of Ramadan. But nowadays, the importance of this day is lost to youngsters as they usually consider it to be just another welcome break from their normal routine, or a holiday from school.
– Tasneem Hussain

The duty of parents is to raise their children with a strong spiritual background that will also allow them to focus on the religious significance of holidays such as Eid. Parents who do not focus on these issues risk causing their children to grow up with a materialistic attitude towards life instead of a more spiritual outlook.
– Subhasis Mukherjee