Mass prayers mark the end of Ramadan in Indonesia

Thousands of faithful flocked this Saturday to the mosques of Indonesia, the country with the most Muslims in the world, to mark the beginning of the end of Ramadan with prayers, the first without restrictions since the end of the pandemic.

Long lines of believers lined up at dawn to begin prayers in the northwestern province of Aceh, where the authorities apply sharia or Islamic law -unlike the rest of the country-, as well as in other parts such as Jakarta, according to images from EFE/ EPA.

The end of Ramadan, declared Thursday by the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs, is the holy month of Muslim fasting and the most important holiday in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country with some 267 million people spread over 17,000 islands.

About 88% of Indonesians are Muslims, mostly in its moderate version, although there are significant minorities of other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Catholicism.

This festivity, which represents the largest exodus among the country’s residents to their home regions to celebrate with their families, is the first to be organized without restrictions as a result of the health crisis, which hit the Indonesian archipelago hard.

In 2020 and 2021, movement bans were implemented, while last year it was possible to travel freely, but the capacity limits in religious venues remained in force.

Food is a fundamental part of the celebration, which lasts for three days, with many families celebrating the end of the obligatory fast with large breakfasts of traditional dishes.

In Malaysia, the country with the second largest Muslim presence in Southeast Asia and where Islam is the religion of almost 20 million inhabitants -60% of the population-, Muslims flocked to the mosques of Kuala Lumpur, among other cities .

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In Southeast Asia, in addition to the aforementioned countries, Islam is the official religion in Brunei, while other nations such as Thailand and the Philippines have a good number of Muslim inhabitants and, to a lesser extent, Singapore, Cambodia and Burma.

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