The Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival, marking the end of the month of Ramadan, takes place this weekend in parts of the world where sightings of the new moon are made. During Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together. Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.
In Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, Yohei Matsuyama, a Japanese Muslim and postdoctoral research fellow at Tokyo University, is silhouetted by a window as he looks at religious books at Hira Mosque in Gyotoku, on July 11, 2015. Matsuyama, who converted to Islam at age 18, is also director of the Japan Muslim Association which estimates about 10,000 native Japanese Muslims live in the predominantly Shinto and Buddhist country.
Eugene Hoshiko / AP
An Iranian confectioner stacks special sweets called 'zulbia' and 'bamieh' in a pastry shop in Tehran on June 27, 2015. Zulbia and bamieh are the most popular sweets during the holy month of Ramadan in Iran eaten as a special dessert after breaking the fast. Zulbia contains yogurt and starch and is deep-fried as a dough before being covered with a syrup of sugar and saffron. Bamieh is oval-shaped dough pieces, containing flour and eggs, deep-fried and then covered with the same syrup.
In east London, Muslims attend Friday prayers in the courtyard of a housing estate next to the small BBC community center and mosque on July 10, 2015.
Paul Hackett / Reuters
A Kashmiri Muslim man performs Wudu, ritual washing before prayers, on the bank of Dal Lake in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on July 11, 2015.
Dar Yasin / AP
An aerial view shows Muslim worshipers praying at the Grand mosque, the holiest place in Islam, in the holy city of Mecca during Ramadan on July 14, 2015.
Ali Al Qarni / Reuters
Palestinians, not permitted by Israeli security forces to cross into Jerusalem from the West Bank due to an age limit, use a ladder to climb over a section of the controversial Israeli barrier as they try to make their way to attend the fourth Friday prayer of Ramadan in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, in the village of Al-Ram, near Ramallah, on July 10, 2015.
Mohamad Torokman / Reuters
A Palestinian child recites verses from the Koran, Islam's holy book, as he waits for the noon prayer at a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip.
Adel Hana / AP
A man fixes a mosque's minaret with a crescent moon symbol during the holy month of Ramadan in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 6, 2015.
Mohamed Al Hwaity / Reuters
Pakistani Shiite Muslims march in a procession to observe the death anniversary of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, in Lahore, Pakistan, on July 9, 2015.
Arif Ali / AFP / Getty
Iranian Shiite Muslims pray as they place the Korran on their heads at the graves of soldiers who were killed during 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, just outside Tehran, Iran, on July 8, 2015.
Ebrahim Noroozi / AP
Bahraini Muslim boys attend a reading of the Koran during the month of Ramadan on July 9, 2015, at a mosque in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama.
Mohammed Al-Shaikh / AFP / Getty
Bangladeshi Muslims offer prayers during Ramadan at Baitul Mukarram mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on June 26, 2015.
A.M. Ahad / AP
A Muslim worshiper reads the Koran in Arabic and German on his tablet during Ramadan at the mosque in Berlin, Germany, on July 10, 2015.
Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters
A girl smiles while holding water bottles she collected from a charity distribution point during a heatwave, outside the emergency department of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) in Karachi, Pakistan, on June 28, 2015.
Akhtar Soomro / Reuters
A vendor bags a local delicacy to take away for iftar during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, outside the Grand Mosque of Koumassi in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on June 19, 2015.
Sia Kambou / AFP / Getty
A man has kohl applied to his eyelids at the Grand Mosque during the month of Ramadan in Sanaa, Yemen, on June 19, 2015.
Mohamed Al-Sayaghi / Reuters
Egyptian boys read the Koran during the month of Ramadan inside Al Sultan Hassan mosque in the old Islamic area of Cairo, Egypt, on July 7, 2015.
Amr Dalsh / Reuters
A migrant waits to break his fast with the Iftar meal during the month of Ramadan in the city of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border on June 24, 2015.
Valery Hache / AFP / Getty
People prepare to break their fast on the first day of Ramadan, near Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 18, 2015.
Osman Orsal / Reuters
An Afghan laborer works at a traditional 'jelabi' (sweet) factory during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Herat province on June 22, 2015.
Aref Karimi / AFP / Getty
A Palestinian couple breaks their fast on the beach in Gaza City during Ramadan on July 13, 2015.
Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty
A man carries out Wudu, a washing procedure in preparation for prayer, at the East London Mosque before the first Friday prayers of Ramadan on June 19, 2015, in London, England.
Rob Stothard / Getty
Kenyan Muslim men pray on the first Friday of Ramadan, at Jamia mosque in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 19, 2015.
Khalil Senosi / AP
Egyptian children hold a traditional Ramadan lantern placed in a windowsill during the month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt, on July 10, 2015.
Amr Nabil / AP
In Beijing, China, Muslim women share a light moment as they prepare food to break their fast with other devotees on the first day of Ramadan at the Niujie Mosque on June 18, 2015.
Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters
A Kenyan Muslim child reads verses from Koran, Islam's holy book, on the 11th day of Ramadan at a Madrassa (Religion School), in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 28 2015.
Sayyid Azim / AP
Men pray inside a damaged mosque during the month of Ramadan in Qmenas village, in Idlib province, Syria, on June 30, 2015.
Ammar Abdullah / Reuters
An Indian worker dries vermicelli, used to make a traditional sweet dish popular during Ramadan, in Hyderabad, India, on June 25, 2015.
Mahesh Kumar A. / AP
A vendor sells traditional cakes of fried honey and flour pastries to customers during the first day of Ramadan in the medina of the Moroccan city of Oujda on June 18, 2015.
Youssef Boudlal / Reuters
Afghan devotees perform a special evening Taraweeh prayer during Ramadan at a mosque in Herat province on July 7, 2015.
Aref Karimi / AFP / Getty
A Malaysian Muslim man checks his mobile phone after prayers at a mosque during Ramadan, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on June 26, 2015.
Joshua Paul / AP
Palestinian girls wait ahead of prayers on the third Friday of Ramadan at the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City on July 3, 2015.
Ammar Awad / Reuters
Kosovo Muslims take part in mass Iftar meal during Ramadan in the town of Kacanik on June 27, 2015.
Armend Nimani / AFP / Getty
Palestinian Sanaa Abu Jaudi (left), 16, from the West Bank city of Jenin, takes a selfie photo with friends in front of the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, during Ramadan, on June 29, 2015. This is Abu Jaudi's third visit to the compound. Palestinians young and old have jumped on a trend for taking "selfies" at Al Aqsa, the 8th century Muslim shrine in Jerusalem, both as a personal memento and for relatives prevented from or unable to visit the ancient compound.
Ammar Awad / Reuters
Students from the Islamic boarding school Ar-Raudhatul Hasanah attend a regular Koran reading event in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on June 23, 2015.
Septianda Perdana / Antara Photo Agency / Reuters
Children watch as a whirling dervish performs a traditional (Al-Tannoura Egyptian folk dance) Sufi dance during Ramadan at a celebration in front of a historical mosque of Sultan al-Ashraf Qaitbey, and near a Sufi concert in the old Islamic area of Cairo, Egypt, on July 8, 2015.
Amr Dalsh / Reuters
A Nepalese Muslim attends Friday prayers during Ramadan in Kathmandu on June 19, 2015.
Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters
A Saudi woman tries on a mask at a shop during a festival to celebrate Ramadan in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on June 25, 2015.
AFP / Getty
A crowd of Muslim devotees buy food in a market to break the first day of fasting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on June 19, 2015.
A.M. Ahad / AP
A Muslim man calls for the evening prayer after having his Iftar (breaking of fast) meal at the ruins of the Feroz Shah Kotla mosque in New Delhi, India, on June 28, 2015.