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.


Raheb Homavandi/Reuters
Afghan Dervishes pray at a religious ritual to mark the final day of the holy month of Ramadan before the festival of Eid-al-Fitr at the Khajeh Abdolah Ansari holy shrine in Herat, western Afghanistan September 9.

Egg fights are unique to Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Afghanistan, when even the Taliban generally lay down their arms to celebrate the end of Ramadan, reports CNN. Men gather in parks with hard-boiled eggs, each trying to crack the other's egg.

But the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, describing the scene Friday, says egg-fights are less popular than they once were:

In those days, [an elderly woman] recalled, most people made their new clothes from cheap cloth, rather than buying it. The men and male teenagers would put on their finery, outline their eyes with black kohl, and gather in parks to play games such as cards or “egg fights” – each trying to crack the other’s hard-boiled egg.

President Hamid Karzai used his annual Eid address to call for the Taliban to end the nine-year Afghanistan war and join peace talks. Taliban commander Mullah Omar, for his part, issued an Eid message that said victory is "imminent."

And while kite flying is a year-round activity in Afghanistan, on Eid al-Fitr the United States is getting into the mix by sponsoring an Eid Kite Festival in Kabul on Sunday. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is hosting the kite-flying contest for 400 children, with prizes such as English language lessons and school supplies, as a way to promote the rule of law in Afghanistan. The festival is backed by the Afghanistan Supreme Court and will be broadcast live and interspersed with radio spots promoting legal rights.

Thus far, however, Eid in Afghanistan has been marked by public uproar over a Florida pastor's cancelled plans to hold a Quran-burning service Saturday, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Voice of America reports that thousands of Afghan civilians protested in the northern part of the country on Friday.

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