Authorities have announced that Eid Al Fitr will begin on Sunday in the UAE,The date was confirmed by the moon-sighting committee, who convened remotely after maghrib prayers to deliberate the end of Ramadan and beginning of Shawwal.
They agreed it was not possible to see the new crescent moon, which would indicate the start of the next Islamic month. This means Ramadan will last 30 days this year and the first day of Eid, Shawwal 1, will fall on Sunday.
The committee was formed under the chairmanship of Minister of Justice Sultan Al Badi and includes a number of senior officials.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation previously announced that public and private sector workers would have Ramadan 29 (Friday May 22) to Shawwal 3 off as a holiday. Friday’s announcement means workers will have until Tuesday, May 26, off, resuming work on Wednesday, May 27.
The committee typically uses a two-pronged approach when determining the start of a new Islamic month. First, they searching for the new moon using telescopes and then confirm it by sighting the moon with the naked eye. This year, the committee is meeting through video conference to avoid breaching precautionary measures taken by the country to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
Images are sent to them from astronomers on the ground and local courts across the country.
On the first day of Eid, Muslims typically wake up just before dawn to perform Eid prayers at mosques. Muslims tend to wear new clothes and visit family and friends. This year’s celebrations will be muted, with mosques closed and gatherings limited to no more than five people in homes, as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Authorities have implored families not to visit each other, to protect one another from potential infection.
Celebrations tend to last for three days. In recent years, it became common practice to travel during Eid but, this year, no one will be able to travel internationally because flights have been grounded. Instead, many have booked into hotels across Dubai and the Northern Emirates for staycations.