The Ramadan crescent moon was sighted in Saudi Arabia on Friday evening, meaning the holy month will officially begin on Saturday, according to an official announcement from the Kingdom’s Supreme Court.
Muslims follow a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. Sighting a crescent moon heralds the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
Four other Arab countries of the Gulf, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE, have also announced the Saturday start of Ramadan, while Oman said it is expected to begin a day later.
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The starting date of the dawn-dusk fasting month of Ramadan is determined by both lunar calculations and physical sightings of a new moon.
Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.
It is also a time of prayers, during which Muslims converge in large numbers on mosques, especially at night.
Ramadan is a holy month for the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims.
Ramadan moon sighted in Saudi Arabia, holy month begins on Saturday