Beijing: Muslims across China on Sunday celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The northwest province of Qinghai had begun festivities on Saturday itself, Xinhua reported.
In the Xinjiang Uygur province, thousands of Muslims of various ethnic minorities -- Uygur, Hui and Kazakh -- gathered in mosques in the capital Urumqi as the first rays of the sun appeared on Sunday.
The government has declared a three-day public holiday for Eid.
"Ramadan is the most auspicious month of the year, and Eid-ul-Fitr is like New Year's Day for us Muslims," said a resident, Ma Yucheng, who came to pray at the Khan Tengri Mosque in Urumqi at 6.30 am.
After the prayer, he along with other Muslims visited a cemetery to honour the deceased. They swept and cleaned the tombs of their deceased relatives and left food offerings.
Ma said his family has spent the past week preparing for Eid. They will serve a host of delicacies, including fried sweets, nuts, fresh fruits, bread and sheep meat.
On Sunday, the public transport in Urumqi added several temporary vehicles for the convenience of Muslims travelling to mosques.
Li Xuejun, an imam at the Hebayan Mosque in Urumqi, said his priority was to make sure all Muslims in the city enjoy the festival.
Xinjiang province has a population of more than 21 million, and more than half of them are Muslims. The region is home to around 24,000 mosques.
The Ningxia Hui region, home to 10 percent of the country's 20 million Muslims, has extended the public holiday till Tuesday.
The Islamic Association of China held a party on Sunday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
First Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012, 18:11