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Indonesian Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Fitr - 2002-12-06


Thousands of people in the Indonesian capital drive through the city in cars, trucks and motorbikes, blaring their horns and banging on makeshift drums to celebrate the end of Ramadan late Thursday. People also light fireworks to ring out the holy month.

It is now Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that literally translates as "breaking the fast." Traditionally, Muslims do not eat during the daylight hours during the entire month of Ramadan - in order to be closer to God, or Allah.

On Eid al-Fitr, Muslims give thanks to Allah for his help in observing the fasting month, and for other blessings he may have bestowed. It is also a time to be spent with family. The days ahead of Eid al-Fitr in Indonesia are marked by congested roads, trains and buses, as tens of thousands of people leave the cities for their home villages in the countryside.

Based on the lunar calendar, Ramadan marks the month in 610 A.D. during which Allah revealed the first verses of the Islamic holy book, the Koran, to Mohammed, who was then wandering in the desert.

The majority of Indonesia's 210 million people are Muslim, but most Indonesians practice a moderate form of Islam.

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