Saudi Arabia sets Eid Al Fitr holidays for private and public sectors

Eid Al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan

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Saudi Arabia announced the dates of public and private sector holidays for Eid Al Fitr.

The government said the Eid Al Fitr holidays will begin for the public sector on May 7 and end on May 17.

For the private sector, the holiday will begin on May 12 and last for four days.

Eid Al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. Practices vary but usually include prayers, a public holiday, visiting family and friends and charity donations. Because of Covid-19, governments are urging people to embrace online gatherings for Eid.

The exact date of Eid Al Fitr has yet to be set. A committee to spot the new crescent moon will confirm it.

Worshippers hold socially distanced Ramadan prayers in Makkah

Worshippers hold socially distanced Ramadan prayers in Makkah

Saudi Arabia's Islamic Affairs Committee on Tuesday directed all mosques to expand capacity for Eid prayers.

More than three million worshippers visited the Grand Mosque in Makkah and more than 1.8 million visited the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah since Ramadan began.

The General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque said it would step up efforts to serve pilgrims during the last 10 days of the holy month.

Religious authorities said they have more than 4,000 staff working around the clock to sanitise and perfume the Grand Mosque over the final 10 days. This period is considered to be especially sacred and people spend more time in mosques. Gates were opened to ease the flow of worshippers and to avoid crowding.

The authorities previously said that they would be using 60,000 litres of sanitiser a day during Ramadan to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among pilgrims and worshippers undertaking a socially distanced Umrah.

In addition to the safety measures, more Zamzam water from the well in Makkah and cold bottles will be handed out. Arrangements have been made for pilgrims with special needs – including meals for diabetic visitors.

Worshippers must book one of the limited slots through the government’s Eatmarna apps to ensure there is no overcrowding and Covid-19 limits are maintained.

“Worshippers wishing to perform the late-night prayer (qiyam al layl) during the month of Ramadan must make sure of the date and time of the reservation,” the Hajj Ministry said after the government set fines for people trying to enter the mosques without a booking.

These special prayers occur during the last 10 days of the holy month.

Usually observed after midnight, this year owinge to Covid-19 health protocols, the taraweeh Ramadan prayers and the qiyam al layl prayers that began on Sunday night will be combined and shortened across all mosques in the kingdom.