JAKARTA - Millions of Muslims across Asia began celebrating the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday on Sunday, with a month of fasting giving way to feasting, family reunions and raucous festivities.
In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, dozens of drummers accompanied a chanting crowd and fireworks shot up from backyards, while mosques played loud music to usher in week-long festivities in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
In China, Muslims in the restive western region of Xinjiang visited the tombs of dead relatives and left offerings of food after morning prayers, state news agency Xinhua reported.
Xinjiang, home to around nine million Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic speaking minority, has been rocked by repeated outbreaks of ethnic violence, with many accusing China’s leaders of religious and political persecution.
In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak opened his official residence in Kuala Lumpur to the public for the start of festivities, with tens of thousands of people attending, among them foreign dignitaries and tourists.
Guests were entertained by top local musicians and dancers and were treated to a huge feast of traditional Malay food.
Muslims in the southern Indian state of Kerala also began Eid on Sunday, a day earlier than Muslims across the rest of the country, with the faithful praying in mosques and charities handing out gifts to the needy.
Millions in Bangladesh continued their exodus from major cities to countryside villages before Eid on Monday. Despite government efforts to stop overcrowding on public transport, millions crammed onto buses, trains and ferries, balancing on rooftops and dangling out of windows.
In war-torn Afghanistan, Eid began with an early morning bomb explosion in a cemetery in the Helmand provincial capital of Lashkar Gah that killed two people and wounded seven others, officials said. Many Afghan families visit the graves of relatives during Eid.
In an Eid message, Karzai said: “Even in the holy month of Ramazan, the enemies of Islam and Muslims under the name of Taliban continued to oppress the Afghan nation.”