Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramazan, was Wednesday celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across Meghalaya, predominantly a Christian state.
Thousands of men and children clad in new attire and wearing skull caps offered Namaz-e-Eid in Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques in Shillong, Dawki, Nongpoh, Lad Rymbai, Byrnihat and Garo Hills region.
The biggest congregation here was held at Laban Eidgah, where over 7,000 devouts offered prayers. Moulana Imran Jyrwa led the prayers.
"The festival celebrates the culmination of 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramazan," Jyrwa said.
The word 'Eid' in Arabic means festivities and 'Fitr' means breaking the fast, he said.
Before offering prayers, every Muslim family paid charity (fixed at Rs.60 this year) on behalf of each member as per the Islamic rules so that the poor can also celebrate the festival.
After the prayers, Muslims visited the houses of relatives and friends to offer greetings. Guests were treated to sheer khorma (special sweet made of vermicelli, milk and dry fruits) and other delicacies.
Meghalaya Governor R.S. Mooshahary and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma greeted the people of the state on the occasion.
Wishing "Eid Mubarak", Mooshahary hoped "the festival will strengthen our faith in oneness, the solemnity of all faiths tolerance and goodwill".
Extending his greetings, Chief Minister Sangma said: "Eid-ul-Fitr which marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan will open a new chapter of progress and development in the state and a harbinger of peace, progress and prosperity."
Muslims constitute four percent of the nearly three million population of Meghalaya.