Moroccan astronomer predicted later celebration of Eid al-Fitr in his home country


Morocco, a deeply religious country, will have observed Ramadan for thirty days this year for the first time in five years, Neil Wilby reports from Agadir, a southern coastal resort of over one million residents set at the foot of the Atlas mountains.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs announced in Rabat on Thursday evening (20th April, 2023) that Eid Al-Fitr 2023 will be celebrated on Saturday 22nd April across the country.

The Ministry confirmed that as the Moon-Sighting Committee did not see the all-important crescent yesterday evening, the beginning of Shawwal, the tenth month in the Islamic calendar and which marks the end of Ramadan, falls this year on Saturday.

Remarkably this confirms previous astronomical calculations by Moroccan astronomer, Hicham El Issaoui, who told the Moroccan World News service weeks ago that he expected Eid Al Fitr to fall on April 22nd.

In Morocco, Ramadan began on 23rd March, 2023 in common with many other African and Arab countries, but the United Kingdom celebrated the first day of Ramadan on 22nd March and Eid al-Fitr was announced yesterday evening.

Muslims worldwide begin celebrating Eid by attending their mosque to perform the special Eid al-Fitr prayer with the congregation. After Eid prayers, Muslims gather around the morning breakfast for the first time in a month of fasting.

In Morocco, cakes and pastries dominate meals served during this special morning Iftar. Also included in this list of other delicious meals for Eid breakfast are Msmen (flat bread) and baghrir (Moroccan pancakes).

In addition to delicious local food specialities, Moroccans, and in particular children, celebrate the occasion in a unique fashion by the wearing of new clothes.

Agadir began its preparations for Eid yesterday with municipal crews setting up areas and delivering equipment on its superb Atlantic-facing beach – which stretches for 9km from the Marina in the North to the King’s golf courses in the South. Although tables, chairs, cushions, food and water are carried by hand from the many nearby access points to their favoured spot close to the sea.

Iftar throughout Ramadan has provided some spectacular evenings on that beach with hundreds and hundreds taking their fast-breaking meal as the sun sets. Eid al-Fitr is confidently expected to draw a much larger crowd with the weather set fair and the evening temperature forecast to be still in the high teens up to midnight.

Iftar Agadir beach

Many shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and other businesses have remained closed in Agadir during Ramadan, with others operating limited hours, but many are expected to re-open on Saturday or Sunday.

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Page last updated Friday 17th April, 2023 at 1030hrs

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Picture credits: Marstons

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2023. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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