Many Muslims around the world are celebrating the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a festival marking the end of a month-long fast.

In Saudi Arabia Sunday, thousands gathered in Mecca for special early morning prayers marking the end of Ramadan.

Jordan's King Abdullah joined a prayer service in the Red Sea port of Aqaba.  And Islamic faithful joined services in Egypt and Iraq.

In Washington, President Barack Obama released a statement greeting Muslims on the occasion, calling it a time to celebrate and remember those less fortunate.

The start of the three-day Eid holiday varies in Muslim communities and countries, depending on the sighting of the new crescent moon.

During the holiday, Muslims visit friends and neighbors, exchange gifts and enjoy lunchtime feasts.

It breaks the month-long fast of Ramadan, when Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations from sunrise to sundown.