Nigerian Moslems celebrated the first day of the Id el-Fitr festival on Friday (24 September), marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
SVs EXTERIOR Moslems washing before prayer in northern Nigerian Id el-Fitr celebrations (3 shots)
GV PAN & SVs Congregation standing (2 shots)
SV Children seated
GVs Congregation seated (2 shots)
GV Congregation kneels and bows towards Mecca
GVs Street procession led by Emir on horseback followed by children and musicians with drums and other instruments (3 shots)
SV Dancer with crowd in background
SV PAN Crowd along roadside watching
GVs Robed horsemen on racetrack (3 shots)
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Background: Nigerian Moslems celebrated the first day of the Id el-Fitr festival on Friday (24 September), marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
SYNOPSIS: A substantial proportion of northern Nigerians are Moslems, and for the previous 29 days they has fasted as part of the observance of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Ritual bathing before prayers is part of the Islamic religious observance.
The Ramadan fast commemorates the first vision by the Prophet Mohammed. It is not known on what day he experienced the vision, so the fasting continues for the whole month. Moslems are forbidden to take food and drink from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.
The Id el-Fitr festival can start on different days in different parts of the Moslem world. Strictly speaking, it is the first sighting of the moon at the end of Ramadan. In some countries, including Nigeria, this literal interpretation is applied and the fast could be extended if the moon were obscured by cloud.
In Nigeria, Moslems were advised to look for the new moon, and notify religious authorities at telephone numbers publicised in local and national newspapers. The moon appeared on time, and the festival started on the day expected. In this part of northern Nigeria, the celebrations were led by the Emir of Zaria, to the accompaniment of traditional music.
The end of the fast is a big occasion and in parts of Nigeria, there were shortages of food and inflated prices because of heavy shopping in preparation for the festivities. Here in Zaria, it is traditional to run horse races as part of the celebrations.