REUTERS – The Muslim feast holiday of Eid ul-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, began in Saudi Arabia and most Gulf states on Monday, and will begin in Egypt and several other countries on Tuesday.
Here are five facts about Eid ul-Fitr.
* Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Fasting during Ramadan is one of five pillars that form the basis of Islam.
* The timing of Eid, which lasts from one to four days, can vary from country to country depending on the sighting of the new moon, which marks the start of the month in Islam’s lunar calendar.
* Regional stock markets, government offices and banks are closed during the holiday.
* Muslims start the day with prayers shortly after dawn, often in large open areas, and spend the Eid visiting family and eating. In Egypt, Muslims tend to eat a special cookie traditionally filled with dates, and children get gifts of new clothes.
* The first Eid was celebrated AD 624 by the Muslim prophet Mohammad in Medina in Saudi Arabia, two years after the founding of the first Muslim community there.