Shia Muslims in most parts of the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday, marking the end of Ramadan. Eid 2016 celebrations by the Shia community fall on the same day as in most countries, including the United States, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, on July 6. Countries like India and Bangladesh will mark Eid al-Fitr on Thursday, after completing 30 days of fasting in the month of Ramadan.
The Shia Muslim community, however, announced Eid al-Fitr date as July 6 in several countries, including India, where the rest of the Muslim community will celebrate Eid on July 7. The announcement was made by Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe in Lucknow after receiving fatwa issued by Ayatullah Sistani from Najaf in Iraq.
"In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful. It is established for His Eminence Al-Sayyid Al-Sistani (May Allah swt prolong his life) that Wednesday is the auspicious day of Eid al-Fitr in Iraq, Iran, neighboring Arab countries, Southern Turkey, Indian Subcontinent (India, Pakistan & Bangladesh), Afghanistan, Indonesia, Australia, Africa, Southern Canada, America, Mexico, Central and South America," Ayatullah Sistani said on his website. "However, North Asian countries, China, Russia, Azerbaijan, European countries, Central and Northern Canada will celebrate Eid on Thursday."
The news about Eid al-Fitr for Shiites on Wednesday was also confirmed by Shia Markazi Chand Committee president Maulana Saif Abbas. But Muslims in Russia celebrated Eid on Tuesday, July 5, along with Turkey as presidents of both the countries individually extended their wishes to Muslims on the day. As per Sistani's statement, Shia Muslims in Russia will celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Thursday, which is an unusual difference of two days.
The committee had earlier announced that Eid will be celebrated on Thursday after the crescent moon was not sighted on Tuesday. But the date was changed after Shia clerics received confirmation from Iraq at 2.45 a.m. on Wednesday.
Muslims in the Indian states of Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala and Mangalore also celebrated Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday.
Eid al-Fitr is an Arabic word which marks the end of the fasting that takes place during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims abstain from food and drinks from dawn until dusk. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith.
Eid traditionally begins with the prayers known as Salat al-Fitr. Muslims across the globe celebrate the day exchanging gifts, arranging feasts and donating charities. Muslims are not allowed to fast on Eid day.