Muslims around the world celebrated with prayer before the Eid al-Fitr festival, marking the end of Ramadan 2012 or the Islamic holy month of fasting.
The three-day festival, sometimes abbreviated as Eid, marks the end of the month-long fasting during Ramadan, which began on July 20. Eid al Fitr begins after the new crescent moon appears and falls on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month in the Islamic lunar calendar typically when Muslims celebrate unity. During Eid, many join in Islamic prayer, known as salat while saying "Allahu Akbar," or "God is Great" and feasting.
Ramadan is an annual celebration for Muslims during the ninth months of the Islamic calendar after the sighting of the new moon. It ends within 29 or 30 days when the new moon appears.
The purpose of Ramadan is to focus on spirituality, praying more often and withholding any acts of violence during the fast for Muslims worldwide, with the exception of the elderly, sick and pregnant.
As one of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims are expected to refrain from food and drink and abstain from smoking and sex each day during the celebration from dawn to dusk. The breaking of the fast, or iftaar, begins at dusk by eating dates. Some Muslims have slightly different variations and have broader definitions of practices during Ramadan.
The month-long fasting marks the anniversary of the Quran being revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.