Muslims around the world are celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr today, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The holiday lasts several days and begins at the start of the lunar month of Shawwal.
Here are six things you might not know about one of Islam’s most important festivals:
The date always varies:
The day on which Eid al-Fitr begins is determined by a confirmed sighting of the new moon after a month of fasting, so the date changes every year and varies geographically.
Every year there is controversy over the sighting of the moon, the Gulf Newsreports. “The question religious scholars ask is, why do Muslims put themselves through this confusion every year?” it says. “Science and technology can detect the birth of the new moon.”
On Monday, leaders in the Gulf Arab nations announced Eid would begin on 6 July, after they were unable to confirm a sighting of the moon due to poor visibility.