Muslims all across the world celebrated Eid-al-Fitr on Sunday 25 and Monday 26 June 2017 thus marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Eid-al-Fitr or festival of the breaking of fast is celebrated with morning prayers in large congregations, feasting together in homes with family and friends as well as visiting the elderly, the sick and praying for family members, who have passed away, at the cemetery.
In an unprecedented move, the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) together with the Grand Mufti of Australia had declared the Eid Day to be on Sunday 25 June, a couple of days in advance in coordination with Muslim communities in UK and USA.
This was based on the astronomically predictable sighting of the new moon, the crescent, which could be visible on Saturday only in western part of South America and nowhere else in the world. (See moon sighting figure on Page 4).
All major mosques in Australia and a majority of Muslims, as well as those in Turkey, Middle East, Indonesia and Malaysia, thus celebrated Eid on Sunday.
A significant number of Muslims and Mosques in Australia as well as New Zealand and countries in South Asia and Iran celebrated Eid on Monday based on the actual sighting of the crescent in their region.
At the International Hijri Calendar Unity Congress held in Istanbul in May 2016, members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation voted in favour of adopting a unified lunar calendar based on the predictability of sighting anywhere in the world and to start the Islamic date from that day.
However, local sighting continues to be the default policy in many countries and amongst a large size of Muslim global population for the purposes marking Ramadan and Eid.
Astronomers calculated the new moon birth to be at 02:31 GMT and that in Muslim-majority countries the moon was set below the horizon within 19-26 minutes from sunset.
Visibility of the moon crescent depends on the sighting location and on meteorological conditions.