Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holy period in Islam when devotees fast during the day. On Tuesday, Muslims across the globe celebrated the holy day in Mosques from Moscow to Saudi Arabia to Australia.
Traditionally, Eid features two to three days of feasting as family and friends gather to give thanks to Allah for helping them through the preceding month. But, with a number of Islamic nations facing extreme hardships, the holiday is a bittersweet occurrence.
In three countries in particular, the Eid celebrations were of specific note. Whether they were joyous or melancholy, the 2011 Eid feasts in Syria, Somalia and Libya were more significant than usual.
Syria: After early morning prayers, thousands of demonstrators once again rallied in the streets, and were once again attacked by President Assad's forces. At least seven people were shot dead in the Daraa province, including a 13-yera-old boy.
Neither Eid nor Ramadan saw a respite from the six months of unrest in Syria -- at least 2,200 people have been killed in clashes between government forces and protestors since February, according to reports.
Perhaps the most significant event on Tuesday happened in the city of Aleppo. Hundreds of people gathered in the northern city, which was still considered to be loyal to Assad.
The best gift this Eid would be the end of the regime. This has been a hard month marked by a bloody Eid. This day is supposed to be a happy day, an important time of celebration. For us it is a time when we ask God to assist us in our righteous revolution, a Latakia resident said, according to the LA Times.
Somalia: The famine in the African nation is now the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet. About 12.4 million people in Somalia require immediate assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Somalis are celebrating Eid with rations from aid agencies, many having to travel long distances to receive it. Additionally, a group called the World Assembly of Muslim Youth gave out clothes and gifts to children for the holiday.
“I am very happy because they gave me clothes so I can share the joy of Eid with my family,” a boy named Mohammad told Al Arabiya.
Libya: In Tripoli, residents have more than one reason to be happy on Tuesday, as many Libyans celebrate their first-ever Eid without the leadership of Moammar Gadhafi.
“This Eid is a double celebration: we are celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Eid-of Freedom,” preacher Sheikh Tareq Ahmed Abbas told the Khaleej Times.
But others celebrate nervously as rumors swirl that the always-unpredictable Gadhafi has something planned for Eid. Police and rebels in Tripoli are patrolling the streets, in particular around Green Square, just in case something happens.