Moon sighting committees convened on June 24 to look for Eid’s, while astronomers predicted it invisible in Asia.
Saudi Arabia’s High Judicial Court has announced that, based on confirmed sightings of Eid’s new moon crescent, the first day of Eid al-Fitr 1438 fasting will be Sunday, June 27.
But not all Muslim countries will observe Eid al-Fitr from Sunday.
Saudi Arabia’s High Judicial Court had called for sighting of the Eid moon on Saturday, which is the 29th day of Ramadan for Saudi Arabia and the 33 countries that started observing the fasting month on May 27.
If the moon is seen on Saturday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr will be the next day, Sunday, June 25. Otherwise, Ramadan carries on to 30 days.
Official Eid announcements are usually made within two hours from sunset because when the moon is new, it rises and sets with the sun (or within an hour).
Astronomers calculated the new moon birth to be at 02:31 GMT and that in Muslim-majority countries the moon will set below the horizon within 19-26 minutes from sunset.
Visibility of the moon crescent depends on the sighting location and on meteorological conditions. At midday on Saturday moon-sighters in Jordan posted a photo of the new moon taken with a telescope.
On June 24, the moon was predicted visible to the naked eye in Peru, Ecuador, and islands in the Pacific Ocean. It was also expected visible with optical aids in other parts of Latin America, in parts of the United States and in parts of Africa.
Turkey, and Muslim communities in Australia, Europe, and North America ( ISNA) observed Eid al-Fitr from Sunday, based on astronomical calculations.
Conversely, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan started Ramadan on May 28 and therefore were on the lookout for the Eid moon on Sunday June 25.
In those countries, local moon sighting with the naked eye is the only method accepted to determine the beginning of the lunar month, whereas, in Saudi Arabia and most Arab countries, moon sighting with telescopes is also accepted.
On June 25, the moon was expectedly visible with the naked eye all over the world.
At the International Hijri Calendar Unity Congress held in Istanbul in May 2016, members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation voted in favour of adopting a unified lunar calendar.
However, local sighting continues to be the default policy in each country.
Eid Mubarak in Arabic means “blessed celebration” and is a common greeting for Eid al-Fitr. Other greetings include:
- Ciid wanaagsan – as used in Somalia.
- Mutlu Bayramlar – as commonly used in Turkey.
- Selamat Idul Fitri – used in Indonesia.
- Selamat Hari Raya – is used in Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.
- Barka da Sallah – as used in some parts of Nigeria.
Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and marks the end of Ramadan. Eid is an official holiday in all Muslim-majority countries, but the number of days varies by country.
In 2016, Eid al-Fitr was celebrated on July 6, and in the UK, an Eid food festival was held in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, July 9.