May 22, 2024

AFP, RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest
shrines, announced Monday that the holiday of Eid al-Fitr marking the end of
the Ramadan fast will begin on Wednesday.

“Supreme Court declares today the last day of #Ramadan and Wednesday the
first day of #Eid Al-Fitr,” the official Saudi Press Agency said on its X
account.
The timing of Eid al-Fitr is determined by the sighting of the crescent
moon, in accordance with the Muslim lunar calendar.

Saudi media outlets reported that the crescent moon was not visible on
Monday.

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar also announced that Eid al-Fitr, a
holiday normally celebrated with family gatherings, would begin on Wednesday.

The daytime fasting month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and
traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.

Ramadan is also a time for prayer, with the faithful converging in large
numbers on mosques, especially at night.

Fasting is widely practised in Saudi Arabia, home of the Grand Mosque in
Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

Saudis are expected to observe a four-day holiday for Eid al-Fitr.

Across the Muslim world, Ramadan festivities this year were overshadowed by
the war in Gaza, where Israel’s military campaign to eradicate Hamas has killed
at least 33,207 people, mostly women and children, according to the health
ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

The war was sparked by the October 7 attack against Israel by Hamas
militants that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians,
Israeli figures show.

Palestinian militants also took more than 250 Israeli and foreign hostages,
129 of whom remain in Gaza, including 34 the army says are dead.

Mediators pushed in vain for a ceasefire to take effect before the start of
Ramadan.

Talks on a ceasefire have resumed in Cairo, but no breakthrough has yet
been announced.

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