Muslims celebrate feast ending daily Ramadan fasts

Muslims celebrate feast ending daily Ramadan fasts

September 23, 2009, Wednesday/ 14:49:00
A look at how Muslims around the world began celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a three-day feast that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

EGYPT

Families thronged the streets and the banks of the Nile to celebrate, showing off children in new holiday outfits. On overloaded Nile cruise boats decorated with brightly colored lights, men and women danced to traditional Egyptian music blaring. Children received gifts of new clothing and money, usually spent on buying fire crackers they set off in the streets.

The traffic that normally snarls the busy streets of Cairo eased as many used mass transit to visit amusement parks and national parks. Vendors and beggars wished passers-by a happy Eid with a smile, hoping for a tip.

»» Click here to see pictures from the celebrations Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan

Supermarkets and sweet shops had special sales on hundreds of boxes of traditional Eid cookies. Another popular Eid treat is smoky or salty fish as most Egyptians refrain from eating those dishes during the fasting month of Ramadan to avoid thirst.

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudis decorated their homes and prepared sumptuous meals for friends and family. Big chunks of lamb mixed with rice and vegetables is traditional. The whole country reveled in celebration with men and women greeting and kissing each other in big cities.

Segregated folk dances were performed in public, with men waving their swords.

In the capital Riyadh, the local government planned celebrations that began with prayers followed by seven separate fireworks displays, concerts, theater, poetry readings, a parade and women's programs. Car races, a remote control air show, a sky diving performance, a bicycle race and traditional music were also planned.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

In Gaza City, the old market was packed with street merchants hawking their wares and families shopping for new clothes, sweets and salted fish. But the holiday atmosphere was strained in Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for two years and is still reeling from January's war.

"People are psychologically worn out since the war," said Midhad Ihmeid, 45. "Does someone who lost a family member or had his house wrecked want to go and buy new shoes?"

Salam Haddad, a 34-year-old vendor, said Gaza's economic decline was affecting holiday preparations, and only the network of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border was keeping commerce alive.

"There's no work here now, so people don't have much money for the holiday," he said.

PAKISTAN

Thousands of people in the capital of Islamabad flocked to the main bazaars to eat, shop and celebrate.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari reminded people in a statement to remember those during Eid who sacrificed themselves for peace.

"Amidst Eid celebrations this year, let us not forget those members of our armed forces, the police, the law enforcing agencies and civilians who laid down their lives in the fight against militants so that we may truly celebrate this Eid in peace," Zardari said, referring to Pakistan's gains in recent months against a homegrown Taliban insurgency.

AFGHANISTAN

In the capital Kabul, children dressed in their finest clothes for the celebration, as families posed for formal photos against the backdrop of the mountains that surround the Afghan capital.

Despite a recent increase in violence in Kabul, the city was crowded and festive -- its markets were full and many of the streets were jammed with cars filled with people on their way to and from holiday meals.

SUDAN

The start of the feast is marked by massive outdoor worship services at the local mosque. Many then spend the afternoon and evening visiting family, friends and neighbors. Those with recent deaths in the family get special attention in hopes the celebrations will distract them from mourning. In cities, families also head to public gardens for picnics while kids run around with newly purchased toy guns they shoot at each other.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir called for the country's numerous armed movements to lay down their arms and engage in dialogue rather than violence to solve their differences.

YEMEN

Eid came at a time of great suffering here from the economic crisis, war in the north and instability in the south.

In northern Saada province along the Saudi border, thousands of civilians have fled fighting between Shiite rebels and the government. Most children did not receive traditional gifts of money or new clothes. The province's biggest and oldest mosque was abandoned this year -- in past years after-dawn prayers drew crowds that reached into the thousands.

Many in big cities stayed home instead of going out to restaurants as they did in past years.

Qat chewers gathered in many neighborhoods, telling stories of their people's glorious past.

Photos:

Palestinians buy sweets from a market in preparation for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in Gaza City, Saturday, September 19, 2009.

A Kashmiri girl gets her hand decorated with henna ahead of Eid al-Fitr in Srinagar, India, Saturday, September 19, 2009.

Pakistani Muslims visit a bazaar to buy garments and other items as preparation to celebrate the upcoming Eid al-Fitr festival, a celebration that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Saturday, September 19, 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Palestinian women are seen preparing sweets ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr, in the West Bank City of Nablus, Saturday, September 19, 2009.

Bangladeshi Muslims try to get inside an overcrowded train to travel homeward for Eid al-Fitr, at Tongi train station on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, September 19, 2009.

A Palestinian woman buys sweets at a market in preparation for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in Gaza City, Saturday, September 19, 2009.

Passengers climb aboard an overcrowded carriage of a train at a railway station in Dhaka September 19, 2009. Millions of residents in Dhaka have started the exodus home from the capital city ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Children carrying torches march through a street to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the start of Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Solo, central Java September 19, 2009.

Shopkeepers eat iftar (a meal to break their fast) during the holy month of Ramadan in delhi September 19, 2009.

A man sells a traditional drink called sharbat outside the Jama Masjid (grand mosque) during Ramadan in Delhi September 19, 2009.

People are reflected in a mirror while getting their hair cut during Ramadan in Delhi September 19, 2009.

Children beat on drums to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the start of Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Jakarta September 19, 2009.

A Muslim woman applies make-up before the start of a prayer session to celebrate Eid el-fitr, at the Athletic Bowl in Baguio City, North of Manila September 20, 2009.

Passengers climb aboard an overcrowded carriage of a train at a railway station in Dhaka September 19, 2009. Millions of residents in Dhaka have started the exodus home from the capital city ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Muslims gather and pray at the Athletic Bowl to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr, end of Ramadan in Baguio City, north of Manila September 20, 2009.

Muslim men enter the Lakemba mosque in Sydney to celebrate Eid al-Fitr September 20, 2009.

Filipino Muslims pray at manila's rizal park to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Philippines on Sunday September 20, 2009. (AP photo/Aaron Favila)

Muslims attend a mass morning prayer outside the Blue Mosque to mark the end of Ramadan in Taguig City, south of Manila September 20, 2009.

Muslim men pray outside the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney to celebrate Eid al-Fitr September 20, 2009.

Bosnian Muslims Rasim Hamidovic , 55, his wife Esma Hamidovic ,45, and their two sons Talib, 9, left, and Muhamed Mustafa, 5, eat dinner together as they prepare to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the last day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the village of Vukovije, 72 kilometers (44 miles) north east of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, Saturday, September 19, 2009.

A girl adjust her prayer robe before performing Eid al-Fitr prayers outside a mosque in Jakarta September 20, 2009.

Bosnian Muslims pray at a small mosque in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the last day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the village of Vukovije, 72 kilometers (44 miles) north east of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, Saturday, September 19, 2009. (ap photo/amel emric)

A man carrying his son attend prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at Sunda Kelapa port in Jakarta September 20, 2009. Millions of people gathered at mosques around indonesian provinces to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. reuters/crack palinggi (indonesia anniversary religion)

Indonesian Muslim women attend prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at Parangkusumo beach outside Yogyakarta, Central Java September 20, 2009.

Muslim residents attend prayers of Eid al-Fitr as they mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at a sunni mosque in Baghdad, September 20, 2009.

Malaysians line up to greet prime minister Najib Razak during the first day of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations at his official residence in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, September 20, 2009.

Muslim residents exchange greetings after the prayers of Eid al-Fitr which mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at Abu Hanifa sunni Mosque in Baghdad's Adhamiya, September 20, 2009. Reuters/Stringer

Bangladeshi commuters try to board an overcrowded train to travel homeward for Eid al-Fitr, at Tongi station on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, September 20, 2009.

Saudis attend prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan in central Riyadh September 20, 2009.

People pray in the open area of a mosque on the first day of Eid al-Fitr in Cairo September 20, 2009.

A Muslim man prays during Eid al-Fitr at the Agora site of the Olympic complex in Athens September 20, 2009.

Afghans hug each other after offering Eid al-Fitr prayer in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, September 20, 2009.

A child yawns as women attend prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at the Agora site of the Olympic complex in Athens September 20, 2009.

Albanian Muslims attend prayers on Eid al-Fitr near the Et'hem Beu Mosque in Tirana September 20, 2009.

Muslims pray at Skenderija Sports Hall in the capital Sarajevo as they welcome the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, September 20, 2009. Reuters/Danilo Krstanovic

Men pray to mark Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, as the monument of the soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin is seen in the background, in central Bishkek, September 20, 2009.

Palestinian women pray next to a grave in a cemetery on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the West Bank city of Ramallah September 20, 2009.

Muslims greet one another after attending prayers on the first day of Eid al-Fitr at El Houda Mosque in Algiers September 20, 2009.

Worshippers sit outside the Eyup Sultan Mosque as they wait for Eid al-Fitr prayers in İstanbul September 20, 2009.

Residents dance as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr at Al-zawraa's Amusement Park in Baghdad September 20, 2009.

Muslims are seen next to the dome of Rock Mosque during the first day of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Sunday September 20, 2009.

Muslim worshippers circle the Kaaba as they perform the early morning Eid al-Fitr prayer at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, September 20, 2009.

A Somalian child carries a toy gun as he stands amongst Islamist fighters during prayers to mark Eid al-Fitr in southern Mogadishu September 20, 2009.

Muslim boys attend prayers to mark Eid al-Fitr, in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa, September 20, 2009.

Muslims attend prayers to mark Eid al-Fitr, at Addis Ababa's main square, September 20, 2009.

Muslim women read the Koran near a grave on the first day of Eid al-Fitr at a cemetery in Basra, 420 km (260 miles) southeast of Baghdad, September 20, 2009.

A boy watches as Muslims attend a prayer session near Dongguan Great Mosque during Eid al-Fitr in Xining, Qinghai province September 20, 2009.

Families pray at the graves of their relatives who were killed by Serbian forces in January 1999, during the religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the village of Racak, south of the Kosovo capital Pristina, September 20, 2009.

Indonesian Muslims attend Eid al-Fitr prayers on a street in Jakarta September 20, 2009.

A Muslim man prays during Eid al-Fitr prayers at a mosque in the Adjame suburb of Abidjan September 20, 2009.

Faithful offer Eid al-Fitr prayers in Palermo, Italy, Sunday September 20, 2009. Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

Muslims offer prayers to mark Eid al-Fitr at a mosque in Adjame suburb of Abidjan September 20, 2009.

Muslim girls stand on a street after attending Eid al-Fitr prayers in the Adjame suburb of Abidjan, September 20, 2009.

Afghan children enjoy swing on Eid al-Fitr festival, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, September 20, 2009. Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

A street vendor prepares snacks with the Jama Masjid Mosque in the background, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, September 20, 2009.

Muslim traders sell prayer beads after prayers to mark Eid al-Fitr, in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, September 20, 2009.

Muslims attend prayers to mark Eid al-Fitr, in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, September 20, 2009.

Children sit on swings during celebrations on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo September 20, 2009. Reuters/Asmaa Waguih

Residents jostle for religious food offerings called "gunungan" during a ritual to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Yogyakarta, Central Java, September 21, 2009. locals believe that the offerings will bring them good luck.

Muslim Bruneians recite prayers at their ancestor's grave during Eid al-Fitr festival in Bandar Seri Begawan September 21, 2009.

Muslims take part in Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Kashmiri Takiya Jame Mosque in Kathmandu September 21, 2009.

Thousands of Indian Muslims gather for the Eid al-Fitr prayer at the Jama Mosque in New Delhi, India, Monday, September 21, 2009.

Shi'ite women attend prayers for Eid al-Fitr as they mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at the headquarters of shi'ite cleric Ammar al-Hakim, the leader of the supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI), in Baghdad, September 21, 2009.

Muslim women offer Eid al-Fitr prayers in jammu, India, Monday, September 21, 2009. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Afghan national army soldiers dance to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province, September 20, 2009.

Palestinian children play in an amusement park in the West Bank town of Jenin, during the second day of Eid al-Fitr, Sunday, September 21, 2009.

Palestinians enjoy a ride in an amusement park in the West Bank city of Jenin, during Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan September 21, 2009.

Saudi young men dance as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Riyadh September 21, 2009.

Turkish people are shopping to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in the province of Sivas, September 20, 2009.

A man is praying near a grave in a martyrdom just the day before Eid al-Fitr in the province of Mersin, September 19, 2009.

People buy sweets from a market in preparation for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in Tokat province of Turkey.

People are buying dresses for children in preparation of Eid al-Fitr in Turkey.

People buy sweets from a market in preparation for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in Turkey.

Azerbaijani Muslims gathered at mosques to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Baku.

Millions of people gathered at mosques around Turkish provinces to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, chidren kissing hands of seniors to show respect.

Turks line up to greet Turkish President Abdullah Gül during the first day of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations at Sultanahmet Mosque in İstanbul. (Mustafa Kirazlı, Today's Zaman)

Thousands of Kazakh Muslims gathered at mosques in Kazakhstan.

Children are taking sweets which were served in celebrations of Eid al-Fitr.

Thousands of Iranian Muslims gathered at mosques in Tehran.

Thousands of Muslims gathered at central Mosque in Moscow to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Turkish Prime Minister prayed at a mosque to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in İstanbul

Muslims in United Kingdom gathered at mosques around London to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Thousands of Muslims gathered at mosques in Finland to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Thousands of Turkmen Muslims gathered at mosques in Turkmenistan to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Turkish Muslims in Sweden gathered at the hall of Gullviva Primary School.

Chinese Muslims gathered at Kudong Mosque in Shanghai to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Turkish Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr at the hall of Lumina Educational Institutions in Romania, September 21, 2009. (Cihan)

Pakistani women police officers patrol as women buy traditional bangles in preparation for up coming Eid al-Fitr festival at a bazaar, Sunday, September 20, 2009 in multan, Pakistan.

Tens of thousands of Uzbek people gathered at mosques around the capital city of Tashkent to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

President of Syria Beshir Assad prayed at Emevi Mosque in the capital city of Damascus to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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