Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Friday 17 July 2015

Chinese Muslims mark Eid al-Fitr

(Xinhua)    16:43, July 17, 2015
Muslims leave Dongguan Mosque after gathering to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan at Dongguan Mosque in Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province, July 17, 2015. (Xinhua/Zhang Hongxiang)

BEIJING, July 17 -- Millions of Muslims across China began celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan during which Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, on Friday.

Start of the Eid al-Fitr varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities. Northwest China's Qinghai and Gansu provinces started celebrating the festival on Friday while the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region will mark it on Saturday.

"It is auspicious that the Eid al-Fitr falls on the same day as Jumu'ah (Day of Assembly) when everybody goes to the mosque for the Friday prayer," said Ma Yun, a Hui minority and head of the Dongguan Mosque administration committee in Xining, capital of Qinghai Province.

"It was not until 9 p.m. on Thursday that we finally decided the Eid al-Fitr would fall on Friday this year," said Ma, adding that it was coincidence that Malaysian Muslims mark the festival on the same day.

Some 300,000 Muslims, most of whom are ethnic Hui minorities who hold Muslim belief, gathered around the Dongguan Mosque on Friday morning as early as 3 a.m. to reserve a place in the prayer hall.

Ma Jun, a snack shop owner, wearing a clean robe with a white hat, prayed in a queue of people that stretches as long as 5 kilometers outside the mosque, with the voice of Imams coming from a loudspeaker. The Arabic prayer goes first, followed by the Chinese version.

A middle-aged woman, who only gave her surname as Ma, is distributing cash to children at a crossroads outside the mosque. Within half an hour, 600 yuan (98 U.S. dollars) was handed out to 600 children.

"Whether they are ethnic Han or Tibetan, I just want them to be happy," said the woman.

In the neighbouring Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, where more than half of the 22 million population are Muslims, business is flourishing due to the celebrations.

Malik Nurlan, a Kazak young man, suffered arm pain after a whole day's meat chopping.

"Too many people are buying beef and mutton," said Nurlan, who sold 11 sheep and two cows in a single day.

With about 20 million Muslims in China, the event was also celebrated in other provinces or cities such as Gansu, Ningxia and Beijing.

In Ningxia, where most of the Hui minority lives, a five-day holiday will begin on Saturday. Highways and most scenic spots will be free of charge during the holiday.

"I will have a family reunion in the first two days and spend the rest days sightseeing with my kids," said Yang Li, a Muslim woman who works in a government department in the regional capital of Yinchuan.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Zhang Qian,Bianji)

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