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Russian Muslims celebrate end of Ramadan

Muslims all over the world are celebrating the end of Ramadan. The month-long fasting season ends with the three-day festival of Eid. This recalls the time when the Prophet Mohammed received the Koran. The festival was opened in Russia by the country's He

It's one of the main events in the Islamic calendar, and thousands of Muslims gathered at one of the main mosques in the Russian capital to mark the important day.

In Arabic, “eid” stands for “festivity”, and «»fitr“ means ”to break the fast". Ramadan stresses prayers, fasting, charity and self-control. During this month-long fast, believers refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise until sunset.

And when the 30 days are over, Eid Al-Fitr takes off. This is a time of joy with important religious significance for Muslims.

Thousands of Muslims have gathered at one  
            of the main mosques of Moscow
Thousands of Muslims have gathered at one of the main mosques of Moscow

It is a time of giving and sharing. Special attention is given to those in need.  Money and food are handed out to the poor and the lonely.

Tradition has it that a Muslim should give away one fortieth of what he owns to those in need during the holiday. It is believed that during Eid Al-Fitr all is forgiven.  The young visit the old, presents are exchanged and big meals are given.

It isn't known exactly how many Muslims live in Russia. 

But most sources suggest between 20 and 30 million.

It's believed the number of Muslims in Moscow is growing significantly.

The Eid Al-Fitr holiday continues until Sunday.