Many Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival on Monday, the first to come after many countries lifted anti-coronavirus restrictions imposed two years ago.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, declared that Monday is the start of the three-day Eid al-Fitr, one of the holiest occasions in the Islamic calendar.
Many other countries have done the same. A few others, such as Afghanistan, celebrated on Sunday.
The beginning and end of Islamic months are determined by the sighting of the new moon.
Over the past two years, Muslims celebrated amid curfews and social distancing measures imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, thousands of worshippers were seen at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca to perform the early morning special Eid prayers.
Similar scenes were seen in and around mosques in other countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Jordan.
Eid al-Fitr is also usually marked with social gatherings, new clothes, and cookies filled with dates or nuts.
The joy has been dampened by rising food and fuel prices, however.
Last month, the International Monetary Fund said the war in Ukraine is impacting the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region significantly, as higher food prices and potential supply shortages are challenging the affordability and availability of basic food staples like wheat.
The IMF expected inflation this year to remain high in the MENA region at 13.9 per cent.