Eid’l Fitr set on May 24 after rain blocks sighting of new moon

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Eid’l Fitr set on May 24 after rain blocks sighting of new moon
The sighting of the new moon would have moved the Muslim feast a day earlier in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Muslim leaders declared that the feast of Eid’l Fitr is to be celebrated in the Philippines on Sunday, May 24, after rain prevented the sighting of the new moon which would have moved the celebration a day earlier.

“Due to the inclement weather, no moon was sighted. Therefore, Eid’l Fitr will be on Sunday, May 24,” announced the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) on Friday evening, May 22.

The mufti or supreme Muslim religious leader of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao made a similar declaration a few minutes before the NCMF.

Eid’l Fitr celebrates the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, when Muslims are prohibited from eating or even drinking water from sunrise to sunset each day. (READ: No food, no water, no sex: What we need to know about Ramadan)

The date of Eid’l Fitr changes every year depending on the sighting of the new moon in the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. 

To determine the date of Eid’l Fitr, Muslim moonsighting committees deployed across the country check the skies for the new moon. This year, if the new moon was sighted in the Philippines on Friday evening, Eid’l Fitr would have been celebrated on Saturday, May 23.

Eid’l Fitr is celebrated for 3 days. This year, the Eid’l Fitr holiday declared by President Rodrigo Duterte is on Monday, May 25, the second day of the celebrations.

Muslims in other countries, however, can celebrate Eid’l Fitr as early as Saturday if they see the new moon on Friday evening unlike in the Philippines.

Eid’l Fitr this year comes as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic that has affected at least 13,597 people and killed 857 in the Philippines alone as of Friday.

The NCMF earlier encouraged Filipino Muslims to perform their Eid’l Fitr prayers at home as towns and cities in the Philippines remain under quarantine due to COVID-19. The Philippine National Police also reminded Muslims in Metro Manila, ahead of Eid’l Fitr, that mass gatherings remain prohibited. – Rappler.com 

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com