JAKARTA Millions of Muslims celebrated `Eid Al-Fitr across Asian capitals on Sunday, August 19, enjoying feasts, fireworks, family reunions and raucous festivities.
"We are very happy today, after 30 days of devoting our life to God," Dian, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told Agence France Presse.
Millions of Muslims across the world began celebrating the `Eid Al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan month of fasting on Sunday.`Eid Mubarak! (Special Coverage)
All About `Eid Al-Fitr
Vast crowds gathered at mosques, fireworks lit up the night sky and tens of millions headed home to villages to see their relatives in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
Little after dawn prayer, Dian took his family to a mosque in the capital for `Eid prayers with thousands of Muslims, including sleeping children who had stayed up all night.
In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, dozens of drummers accompanied a chanting crowd and fireworks shot up from backyards, while mosques played loud music to usher in week-long festivities in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.
Festivities were also prominent in Malaysia as Prime Minister Najib Razak opened his official residence in Kuala Lumpur to the public for the start of festivities.
The festivities were attended by tens of thousands of people, among them foreign dignitaries and tourists.
Guests were entertained by top local musicians and were treated to a huge feast of traditional Malay food.
`Eid Al-Fitr is one the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.
During `Eid days, families and friends exchange visits to express well wishes and children, wearing new clothes bought especially for `Eid, enjoy going out in parks and open fields.
After special prayers to mark `Eid Al-Fitr, festivities and merriment start with visits to the homes of friends and relatives.
Traditionally, everyone wears new clothes for `Eid, and the children look forward to gifts and the traditional `ediya (cash).
`Eid celebrations were much different in China's restive western region of Xinjiang as Muslims visited the tombs of dead relatives and left offerings of food after morning prayers.
Ramadan had "passed peacefully", said Liu Zhenqiang, director of the regional ethnic affairs committee, according to Xinhua.
Xinjiang, home to around nine million Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic speaking minority, has been rocked by repeated outbreaks of ethnic violence, with many accusing China's leaders of religious and political persecution.
Muslims in the southern Indian state of Kerala also began `Eid on Sunday, a day earlier than Muslims across the rest of the country.
Attending `Eid prayers in mosques, Kerala Muslims handed out charities and gifts to the needy.
`Eid in most Indian states, Bangladesh and Pakistan began on Monday, August 20.
In Bangladesh, millions continued their exodus from major cities to countryside villages before `Eid on Monday.
Despite government efforts to stop overcrowding on public transport, millions crammed onto buses, trains and ferries, balancing on rooftops and dangling out of windows.
Festivities started across Pakistan on Monday, with markets crowded across the country, including in the capital Islamabad.
Women flocked to stalls to buy jewelery and have their hands painted with henna.
A 2009 study released by Pew research center found that Muslims make up around one fourth of the world's population and are mostly concentrated in Asia.
According to the study, based on data from 232 countries and territories, Asia is home to nearly 20 percent of the global Muslim population.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net