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21 May 2020 | 05:22 AM UTC

Middle East/North Africa: Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) May 23-26 /update 1

Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, between May 23-26

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Event

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began around April 23-24 depending on the country, will come to an end at sundown on the evening (local time) of Saturday, May 23. From the evening of May 23, to the evening of Sunday, May 24, operations in many countries will come to a virtual standstill as Muslims gather to pray and celebrate with family and friends. Eid al-Fitr celebrations are likely to have a major impact on many businesses, stock exchanges, and public services, which may be unavailable or operating on a reduced schedule. Festivities (and disruptions) could continue into Tuesday, May 26.

While Eid al-Fitr typically sees disruptions to businesses, schools, government offices, and restaurants, the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has caused mass closures of non-essential businesses and services, as well as movement restrictions, in most countries.

Transportation disruptions are also expected during this period in areas where services are still operating. Increased movement is possible around sundown in countries where lockdowns or curfews are not implemented due the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, as observers gather for nightly festivities and to break their fast. Increased security measures are also likely in order to ensure compliance with COVID-19-related restrictions and due to a heightened terror threat in some parts of the region.

Context

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the conclusion of a month of dawn-to-sunset fasting and remains one of the most important dates on the Muslim calendar.

Advice

Individuals in the Middle East and North Africa are advised to adhere to local cultural customs, allow for additional travel time, remain vigilant, avoid large public gatherings, and obey all local regulations.

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