How 5 countries celebrate Eid al-Fitr and the end of Ramadan

Eid al-Fitr began at sunset Thursday, when the crescent of a new moon first showed over the Middle East. The three-day feast celebrates the end of the a month-long period of Ramadan's fasting and prayer. Here is how five countries ring in Eid al-Fitr.

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Saudi Arabia

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    Men take part in Eid al-Fitr prayers in Diriyah, north of Riyadh, September 10. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
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Saudi Arabian cities planned fireworks and public performances Friday, according to reports.

Saudi Arabia's supreme court waited until Wednesday to rule that Eid al-Fitr would begin at sundown Thursday. Because the Muslim calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the celebration date is different worldwide. However, most Muslim countries take their cue from Saudi Arabia, home of the holy sites of Mecca and Medina.

Airports were jammed earlier this week as locals head abroad for vacations, and tens of thousands of pilgrims in Mecca and Media reversed course to head home, reported Agence France-Presse. Saudi businesses were closed for the week.

Saudi-based newspaper Arab News, however, wrote in an editorial that it would be a somber Eid:

Since this Eid coincides with the Sept. 11 attacks, the significant Muslim community in America and elsewhere in the West finds itself understandably tense. As if the endless posturing and tensions on the question of the Islamic center near Ground Zero were not enough, the powerful Christian right has added fuel to the fire by calling for “Burn a Qur’an Day’ to mark the 9/11 anniversary this week.

Saudi Arabia's 28.7 million population is 100 percent Muslim, according to the CIA World Factbook.

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