Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan is being celebrated throughout Pakistan Monday with great religious fervour and festivity, marking the culmination of the holy month of Ramazan, the official news agency APP reported.
Big Eid congregations are held across the country with special arrangements made to offer Eid prayer. In the twin cities of Rawalpindi and capital city of Islamabad, the Eid congregations have been held at more than 300 places.
In Islamabad, the biggest congregation was held at the grand Faisal Mosque, where the high-ups of the government offered Eid prayers. In Rawalpindi, the biggest Eid congregation was held at the historic Liaquat Bagh.
Following the Eid prayers, Muslims spend their time feasting with family and friends and feeding those who are less fortunate. Sweets and other special dishes have been prepared for serving the guests. People also exchange gifts on the occasion.
The government has declared Eid holidays from Sept. 21 to 23 and paid advanced salaries to employees for enabling them to meet their Eid expenses.
On this occasion, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited has also offered a special package on Eid days to encourage people to exchange Eid greetings with their near and dear ones, Xinhua reports.
Eid ul-Fitr, or simply Eid, is a Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, which was completed at dusk Saturday. It also marks the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month in the lunar Islamic calendar.
"It's a celebration and a day to give up all dilemmas and start fresh," said 27-year congregation member Muhammad Suleman.
The daylong celebration is sometimes called the Smaller Eid in contrast to the Eid-ul-Azha holiday, a larger celebration that falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja, about 70 days after the end of Ramadan.
"This day marks the graceful ending of the holy month of Ramadan. We fast, we sacrifice. After the 30 days of fasting, our God has given us a chance to celebrate and to ask that our prayers be accepted and accepted for the whole community, not for us as individuals," said spokesperson Tahir A. Tasneem. "We pray for peace and prosperity in the world and integrity in all people."
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) member Bilal Malik said some families have a large breakfast at their homes, including many sweet foods, to mark the end of a month of fasting.
"There is also a lot of gift sharing with the children and each other," he said. "It's kind of like Christmas as far as the shopping for gifts," phillyBurbs.com reports.
At the Luneta Park in Manila, hundreds of believers gathered for the final prayers marking the end of Ramadan. For those who successfully completed their fasting ritual, the end of the holy month signifies a stronger faith and a purer heart.
Malacanang declared Monday a non-working holiday to mark the end of Ramadan.
Members of the Muslim community also gathered on Sunday at Manila Golden mosque, the largest mosque in the Quiapo district.
Macacna Lucman, Grand Mosque Administrator, said they prayed that the 2010 elections would lead to positive change and provide a lasting solution to the conflict in Mindanao, GMA news.tv reports.
Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, said that Moscow would treat any military intervention in the affairs of Belarus as an attack on Russia