RAMADAN is drawing to a close for Muslims across the world, which means Eid al-Fitr is around the corner.
In Saudi Arabia Eid is a significant public holiday, so the sighting of the moon which marks the festival’s beginning is a major event. Here’s what you need to know…
AFP – Getty The moon sighting in Saudi Arabia heralds the start of a holiday
What is the time in Saudi Arabia and when will the moon sighting be?
The time in Saudi Arabia is three hours later than Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
In the UK we are currently operating on British Summer Time, which means the time is currently only two hours later in Riyadh.
Sunset in Riyadh is predicted for 6.43pm this evening, which would be 4.43pm in Britain.
Eid al-Fitr officially begins with the sighting of the moon, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
EPA Muslims across the world are readying for Eid celebrations
The Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia has asked for Muslims living in the country to keep lookout for the crescent moon and report it to a local authority.
Many Islamic scholars insist on the moon having to be visible with the naked eye, rather than using artificial aids like binoculars.
Because of this, astronomers have reportedly predicted that the moon won’t be visible in Saudi Arabia until Friday, June 15, which means the festival would effectively start the following day.
Eid begins the month of Shawwal, which starts with a feast to end the period of fasting during Ramadan.
Reuters In Saudi Arabia, the public has been asked to look out for the crescent moon
What is Eid al-Fitr?
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which is a month of fasting that started on May 16 this year.
While the celebration is a public holiday in many Muslim countries it isn’t in the UK, despite a campaign for it to be recognised back in 2014.
During Eid, Muslims will often purchase new clothes for the occasion and take part in festivals and celebrations.
Many will wake up early to pray at a mosque or outdoor prayer venue, while gifts and cards are often exchanged among friends and family.
Eid means “celebration” and Mubarak means “blessed”, with “Eid Mubarak” often used as a greeting over this period.
Is there another Eid celebration in the calendar?
As well as Eid al-Fitr, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, which is expected to take place on Tuesday, August 21, this year.
It falls in the middle of the 12th and final month in the Islamic calendar.
The celebration revolves around when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, as a sign of his faith.