Eid al-Fitr: Islam's most auspicious festival

MANILA -- More than a billion Muslims around the world on Wednesday celebrated the annual Eid al-Fitr, Islam's most auspicious festival marking the end of the month-long Ramadan.

The festival, celebrated after 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-dusk fasting during the entire month of Ramadan, is a time when Muslims renew their covenant with Allah.

After a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection, Muslim families gather in large congregation for an Eid prayer to express gratitude to Allah for having been able to perform their personal sacrifices.

In the Philippines, Muslim Filipinos comprise about 6 percent of the population.

Honoring them and the country's Islamic heritage, the government in 2002 established Eid'l Fitr as a regular holiday by virtue of Republic Act 9177 and Presidential Proclamation 1083.

The first national commemoration of Eid al-Fitr was in December 2002, observed with an Eid prayer and a feast.

This year, the celebration of Eid al-Fitr fell on June 5. The holiday is determined by the use of the lunar-based Islamic calendar through the sighting of the crescent moon in the Islamic month of Shawwal. (PNA)