Millions of Muslims across China celebrated Eid al-Fitr on
Monday, the festival that marks the end of the holy fasting month
About 1,000 Muslims, wearing festive costumes and white
skullcaps, celebrated the festival in Xihuan Mosque in Yinchuan,
capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
It is customary for Muslims to visit one another's homes during
Government department employees were given the day off.
In addition to feasting and celebrating, Muslims regard the
festival as an opportunity to educate their children.
When Ma Fangzhou, a primary school student, entered his
grandfather's house, he first paid his respects to his grandfather
and other elders present before running outside to play with his
"My father told me to watch closely and do what he does when he
performs rituals," Ma said. He took part in a memorial ceremony for
his ancestors with his parents before giving alms.
"The fast-breaking festival is a great opportunity for parents
to teach their children," according to Ma Songhua, an official in
charge of mosque affairs in the region.
The festival can be used to teach children filial piety and
charity, Ma said.
Misunderstandings among friends or conflicts between neighbors
are forgotten on this day. Everyone starts on a new foot in a
harmonious atmosphere, he added.
Muslims in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and other
provinces also celebrated the festival.
During Ramadan, the ninth month of the year in the Muslim
calendar, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. But children, the
elderly and the infirm do not have to observe the fast.
There are about 20 million Muslims in China, nearly half of whom
belong to the Hui ethnic group.
(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2006)