Muslims across Australia have filled mosques and public spaces to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr traditionally occurs with the first sighting of the new moon and brings to a close the end of a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset.
Heavy rain failed to dampen the spirit of those flowing into the Lakemba mosque in Sydney’s south-west from early Thursday morning for Eid prayers.
Roads around the mosque were blocked off to allow the congregation to fill the area.
Families and children left the service with pockets filled with sweets, as is Eid custom.
Muslim families are also known to visit relatives in hospital and pay their respects to loved ones who have passed away as part of Eid celebrations
Rarbie Ziad, 22, attended the prayers and said that for him Eid was all about spending time with family.
“After this it’s going to be family, so we’re going to go see our family, from there we’ll go to the cemetery, just visit all our past members, from there come back and have a big lunch.”
For Mr Noah, the morning was also about more than just religious observance.
“When you walk out of the mosque after prayers you see your cousins, your friends,” Mr Noah said.
“Eid celebrations are about family and community.”
The Lakemba event was attended by leaders of Sydney’s Muslim community, senior New South Wales police officers, NSW premier Barry O’Farrell and Federal MPs Chris Bowen and Joe Hockey.
Melbourne’s Muslim community Eid prayers were held at Flagstaff Gardens from 7.30am.
The , from 2007, indicated there were 340,389 Muslims in Australia, constituting 1.7 per cent of the total population.
Amid the day of celebration and sweet treats, many Australian Muslims are concerned about family members across the Middle East.
Mohammed Helel, who lives in Sydney’s inner west, has family in Cairo and says Eid will just not be the same this year.
“I’m concerned that they will not have that quality time that the Egyptians used to have, the happy times,” he said.
“For the adults we will enjoy it as much as we can and actually pray for our families in Egypt.”
He says the effects of the political turmoil in Egypt will play upon his family’s enjoyment of the Eid festival.
“People in Egypt are not really settled, there are some issues with the military coup and people demanding their rights and so on,” Mr Helel said.
“In every family there are all differing opinions, and it is not really a happy time as we used to have in Egypt.”