It is an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Fitr means “to break” and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period and of all sinful habits. The detail of the significance of this holiday and its celebration I’ll simply leave to wikipedia to explain.
To the muslims, this could mean a very special day. To non-muslims like us, though, especially living in this Muslim country, it means a long weekend, a long holiday, a long rest…. ahhhhhh!
From October 20th to 28th, 2006, work day is only on the 26th. Regular office days resume on the 29th.
On his lecture last September 12, 2006 regarding “Faith, Reason and the University” in the University of Regensburg, where he was formerly a professor, Pope Benedict XVI quoted the opinion of Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, saying:
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
The quotation from this medieval text drew condemnation from a number of individual governmental representatives and various muslim religious leaders urging the Pope to retract his statement and issue an apology about it. Two cases of bomb attacks in churches in the West Bank in Germany were said to be linked to that statement.
On September 17, Pope Benedict publicly expressed that he was “sorrowed” by the reactions in some countries and stressed that the words which ‘were considered offensive’ were not his own, but were quoted from a medieval text.