Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr

Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr

Muslims around the world are celebrating the three-day Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Eid al-Fitr, or “the festival of breaking the fast”, begins with the first sighting of the new moon, and it often varies from country to country.

The end of Ramadan is usually after 29 or 30 days, depending on the visibility of the new moon's crescent. It can differ per country when the holy day starts, this has to do with the different time zones and astronomical calculations.

The festivities last for three days and vary from country to country. Most Muslims visit friends and family, exchanges presents, enjoy feasts and put on new clothes. In many countries, Eid Al-Fitr starts with eating something sweet, but after that there are just as many savory dishes on the menu.

Celebrations begin with a special early morning prayer in mosques and open-air spaces and later move on to feasts and festivals.

The tradition dates back to 624 AD, the times of Prophet Muhammad. On the eve of the festive prayer Muslims are recommended to wake up early, perform ablutions, dress in their best clothes and women put on jewelry. The holiday requires visiting cemeteries to recite Quran over the graves.

Muslims ask each other for forgiveness and read Quran verses. In addition, Muslims give mandatory charity - Zakat al-Fitr - to atone for errors and omissions made during Ramadan, as well as to help those in need. This charity remains obligatory until the beginning of `Eid Prayer.