20 mln Chinese Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr

2016-07-06 22:30:39 | From:http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/07/06/2561s933295.htm

More than 20 million Muslims across China began celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, on Wednesday.

Some 200,000 Muslims, most of whom are ethnic Hui, visited the Dongguan Mosque Wednesday morning in Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province.

Ma Lu, a local barber, was one of them.

Wearing a pristine robe and white hat, Ma prayed in a queue of people that stretched as far as 5 kilometers outside the mosque, with the voices of Imams coming from loudspeakers. The Arabic prayer is first, followed by a Chinese version.

"For us Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan is the time when we are most close to Allah," said Ma, 56, who closed his barbershop after the prayer.

"I will celebrate the festival with my family for three days," said Ma, who served twice as many customers as usual in the past week.

In Kashgar of the neighbouring Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, more than 30,000 Muslims gathered at the Id Kah Mosque, listening to the sermon of the Mullah.

"The Mullah told us to carry on the endurance, tolerance and calmness we experienced during the holy month into the next year," said Alimjan Erfan, a local resident.

In Xinjiang, where more than half of the 22 million population are Muslims, business is flourishing due to the celebrations.

Tursun Ili, a 19-year-old vendor, is busy selling prayer mats outside the mosque with his brother.

Ili said he will buy gifts for his grandparents and little brother.

The crowds dispersed after the 20-minute prayer. Many went back home while some danced outside the mosque to traditional Uygur music.

"Amazing dancing and special prayer, Kashgar is hard to forget," said Pierre Barthelet, a French tourist.

For Eniwar, a supermarket worker in the regional capital of Urumqi, it is the first Eid al-Fitr for him and his wife in the metropolis after moving there from Kashgar last year.

"I want to spend a unique Eid al-Fitr," said Eniwar, adding that he plans to watch a movie, visit a music bar and enjoy pizza.

For Muslims, Eid al-Fitr is also a day to commemorate their deceased loved ones and a day for charity.

Nurgul, a Muslim woman of Kirgiz ethnic minority from Akqi County, read from the Quran in front of her father' tomb together with her family, throwing cereal and rice on the ground.

The 55-year-old woman had prepared a large pan of fried cakes, fruit and nuts for the poor.

"It is a day for sharing and giving," she said.

Ramadan, a month of prayer and fasting, lasted from June 6 to July 6 this year. With more than 20 million Muslims in China, the event is also celebrated in other regions such as Ningxia, Gansu and Beijing.

In Ningxia, where most of the Hui minority lives, a five-day holiday will begin on Wednesday. Highways will be free of charge during the holiday.

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