Thousands gather in Indonesia to mark end of Ramadan

Jakarta, Apr 22 (EFE).- Thousands of believers on Saturday gathered at mosques across Indonesia – the country with the world’s highest Muslim population – for prayers marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the first of these celebrations to be held without restrictions since the pandemic.

Long queues of believers formed at dawn to begin the prayers in the northwestern Aceh province – where authorities implement shariah or Islamic law unlike the rest of the country – apart from other regions such as Jakarta, as covered by EFE-EPA images from the archipelago.

The end of Ramadan or Eid-al-Fitr, declared by the Indonesian ministry of religious affairs on Thursday evening, is the culmination of month-long fasting and the most important festival of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populated nation with around 267 million people spread across 17,000 islands.

Close to 88 percent of the population is Muslim – most of them moderate – although people that follow other minority religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Catholicism, are also present in the country in significant numbers.

The festival, which witnesses a large number of people travelling to their hometowns to celebrate with their families, is being held without restrictions for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a devastating impact in Indonesia.

In 2020 and 2021, restrictions were placed on people’s movements, while last year residents were allowed to travel but limits were enforced on number of people gathering in religious places.

Food is a key part of the three-day celebrations, with many families celebrating the end of the dawn-to-sunset fasting with grand feasts that include traditional dishes.

In Malaysia, the second largest Muslim nation in southeast Asia with around 20 million believers, the faithful offered mass prayers in the mosques of Kuala Lumpur and other cities.

Brunei is the other majority Muslim nation in the region, while countries such as Thailand and the Philippines have sizable Muslim populations, along with smaller minorities in Singapore, Cambodia and Myanmar. EFE


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