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Late Eid Postponement Creates Confusion in Indonesia

A Muslim boy prays during Eid al-Fitr prayer that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 30, 2011.

Shopkeepers and residents in Indonesia scrambled to rearrange their schedules in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation Tuesday after the government announced a last-minute change in the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Indonesians had prepared for days to celebrate the festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, on Tuesday along with most of the Muslim world. But officials announced late Monday that the moon was not in the right position and the holiday would occur Wednesday.

The switch forced many housewives to throw out carefully prepared feasts and observant Muslims to fast for another day. Businesses had to arrange to shut down Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

Muslim women perform Eid al-Fitr prayers Parangkusumo beach in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (AP)

Adding to the confusion, Indonesia's Muhammadiyah sect, the nation's second largest, decided to observe the holiday Tuesday anyway, noting that some astronomers still maintain that is the correct day.

Jakarta businessman Muhammad Zulkifli was one of those who observed the holiday on Tuesday. "I am very grateful to be celebrating Eid today. Other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia also celebrate it today. In my opinion having Eid celebrations today is better."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.