JAKARTA, Aug 8: Millions of Muslims began celebrating the end of Ramazan on Thursday with morning prayers followed by savoury feasts to mark the Eidul Fitr holidays.
In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, throngs of believers donning brand new clothes made their way to mosques.
Fireworks exploded across Jakarta throughout Wednesday night, with hundreds of people gathering at a landmark downtown traffic circle to watch the impromptu displays.
Still, Indonesian authorities were on high alert after a small bomb exploded in Jakarta earlier this week outside a Buddhist temple packed with devotees praying. Only one person was injured, but two other devices failed to detonate. Malaysia’s Islamic authorities called on Muslims to strengthen the unity of the nation in the aftermath of controversial elections in May that saw the Muslim Malay ruling party retain its grip on power.
Prime Minister Najib Razak hosted up to 80,000 guests as he opened his home to celebrate the end of the fasting month.
The festivities began in the United Arab Emirates with the main shopping malls extending the hours and offering deals and discounts, according to the Khaleej Times.
Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to visit Dubai during the three days of Eidul Fitr holidays. A fireworks display, a sports festival and a concert were being held to mark the occasion.
In Saudi Arabia, the authorities have planned hundreds of events for the holidays. According to the website of Saudi Gazette, Jeddah alone will witness around 200 events at 38 locations across the city.
The website quoted the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities as saying the programmes will offer entertainment to all segments of society.
Like past years, cultural events will dominate this year’s Eid festivities. The events will include plays, traditional shows and children’s competitions.
Muslim communities in the Philippine capital Manila welcomed visitors into their homes to feast in keeping with tradition, and adorned local mosques.
Muslims in Australia were among those to celebrate Eid on Thursday, along with Malaysia and the Philippines. Leaders of Australia’s ruling Labour Party including Foreign Minister Bob Carr and members of the opposition addressed worshippers outside Sydney's Lakemba mosque, rallying support ahead of national polls on September 7.
In Beijing, Chinese Hui Muslims exchanged sweets and received blessings at the city's historic Nijuie Mosque, built in the 10th century.
Not all the countries began Eid celebrations on Thursday, however. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong, for instance, are going to celebrate Eid on Friday after the moon was sighted there on Thursday.
Syed Ali Geelani, a top leader in India-held Kashmir called for peaceful protests after Eid prayers on Friday morning against state terrorism. Security forces are expected to be deployed in strength around prayer sites in Srinagar on Friday.—Agencies