June 25 (UPI) — Authorities in Saudi Arabia on Saturday declared Eid al-Fitr, the holiday to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, would begin Sunday.
The Saudi Press Agency reported multiple witnesses observed the new moon of the 10th month of Shawal after sunset on Saturday. The first new moon after the start of Ramadan marks the end of the fasting month.
Because Muslims observe Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr in countries all over the world, where weather and clear skies can vary, many countries depend on an official announcement out of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, to determine when Eid al-Fitr begins, the BBC reported.
“Upon testimonies of a number of adult witnesses who confirmed to have seen the new moon of Shawal after sunset this evening, the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced, following an extraordinary session to consider whether there are reports on sighting the new moon of Shawal, that tomorrow Sunday is blessed Eid Al-Fitr 1438H,” the Royal Court said in a statement.
United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia and Japan also announced they would begin observing Eid al-Fitr on Sunday. Iran, Oman, Morocco, South Africa, Brunei and Sri Lanka, which have not observed the new moon, declared Monday the start of the holiday.
Eid al-Fitr is marked by a special prayer, festivities, gifts and shared meals.