As the fasting month of Ramadan comes to an end, Muslims around the world are preparing for Eid al-Fitr, the “festival of breaking the fast”.

Lunar months last between 29 and 30 days so Muslims generally have to wait until the night before Eid to check its date. The first day of Eid will be celebrated today, April 10.

After Maghrib prayers on Monday, the new moon was not sighted in Saudi Arabia, and therefore Muslims needed to fast one more day, completing 30 days of Ramadan.

When the sighting has been verified, Eid is declared on television, radio stations, and at mosques.

The first day of Eid al-Fitr is declared by the sighting of the crescent moon and the start of the month of Shawwal which is the 10th month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar.

How is Eid celebrated?

Muslims begin Eid day celebrations by joining in a prayer service that occurs just after dawn and then followed by a short sermon.

Traditionally, it is practiced to eat something sweet before the prayer, such as date-filled biscuits like Makrout in Algeria. The celebrations are known as the “sweet” Eid – and the giving of sweets and biscuits is common across the Muslim community.

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During the celebrations, children are gifted with new clothes and monetary gifts, and women decorate their hands with beautiful henna designs.

To celebrate the end of Ramadan, houses and buildings are decorated with lights.

Eid is celebrated for three days and is declared an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries.