Millions of Muslims around the world began the holy month of Ramadan on Monday, a time marked by intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts.
Saudi Arabia’s state TV announced that the new moon of Ramadan was spotted Sunday evening. Local media in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, also said Muslims there would begin fasting Monday, as would Muslims in Singapore, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, among others.
Following these announcements, a mosque in Tampa, Fla., told its followers that they too would celebrate the first day’s fasting on Monday.
Muslims follow a lunar calendar and a sighting of the moon that can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart. By Sunday evening, Pakistan and Iran had yet to officially announce Monday as the first day of the holiday. Traditionally, announcements are made after a moon-sighting council spots the Ramadan crescent in the evening sky, and fasting begins the next day. (AP)