By Julia Zorthian
July 17, 2015

Muslims across the globe marked the start Thursday of Eid al-Fitr, a three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan at sunset.

Eid al-Fitr begins each year with the sighting of the new moon, indicating the end of a month of fasting and reflection. To start the holiday, many gather in large, open-air locations or in local mosques on the first morning for special prayers, the Salat al-Eid. People celebrate after the more reflective month of Ramadan.

Different cultures celebrate differently, including with large, open festivals, adorning arms with intricate henna tattoo designs, exchanging gifts or wearing festive clothing and jewelry.

New York City schools closed in observance of Eid al-Fitr, and President Obama released a statement extending holiday wishes to Muslims in America and elsewhere.

“As Muslims mark the end of the month, they are reminded that Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need,” he said. “While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.”

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

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