Shillong: Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, was on Friday celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across Meghalaya, a predominantly Christian state.
Thousands of men and children clad in new clothes and wearing skull caps offered Namaz-e-Eid in Eidgahs or open grounds and mosques in Shillong, Dawki, Nongpoh, Lad Rymbai, Byrnihat and in the Garo Hills region.
The biggest congregation in the state was at the Eidgah ground of India`s first glass mosque - Madina Masjid - where over 7,000 people offered prayers. Moulana Abdul Hafeez led the prayers here.
"The festival celebrates the culmination of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan," Hafeez 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 KK Paul and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma greeted the people of the state on the occasion.
Paul hoped "the festival will be celebrated with fervour and traditional gaiety inspiring compassion, brotherhood and goodwill." He greeted the people of the state with the traditional "Eid Mubarak".
Extending his greetings, Chief Minister Sangma said: "Let the celebration (Eid-ul-Fitr) remind us of a sense of responsibility to bring people together in harmony and may it bring abundant joy and prosperity amidst peace, love and hope."
Muslims constitute four percent of the nearly three million people of Meghalaya.