No moon so it’s last day of Ramadaan
TODAY marks the final day of Ramadaan as the new crescent moon, which signals the end, was not sighted last night at the traditional Three Anchor Bay observation as thousands of Muslims gathered on the Sea Point promenade for the announcement of Eid-ul-fitr.
Families gathered on the grass ready to break their fast as the sun set ahead of the potential sighting.
The Islamic calender is based on the lunar system and to determine the start and end of each month, the Crescent Observers Society of South Africa gathers at different viewing areas to make these determining calls.
As Ramadaan is the holiest of months in the Muslim calender – marked by 29 or 30 days of fasting – interest in this particular moon sighting is always high.
The sighting has to be with the naked eye, as prescribed by Islamic practice.
Traditionally, thousands turn up at Three Anchor Bay with their prayer mats and picnic baskets.
The society or maankykers (moon-watchers), as they are referred to by local Muslims, also send members to Oudekraal, Signal Hill, Soetwater and Stellenbosch.
Crucial to the sighting is the position of the sun when it sets. Observers look at the invisible arc between Venus and the sunset for the moon.
However, the moon was not sighted yesterday, meaning today will be the last day of Ramadaan and Eid will be celebrated tomorrow.
Mogamat Yusuf Pandy, chairman of the Crescent Observers Society of South Africa, said they have 41 minutes after the sun sets to observe the moon, and con- firmed it had not been sighted.
As Muslims awaited the announcement, children played and people chatted.
As sunset approached, the smell of soup and savoury treats was abundant.
Muslim religious leaders who sat in front of the crowds facing the setting sun prepared themselves to break their fast before leading everybody in prayer.
When the sun set families sat together and shared a meal.
A few minutes later men started moving forward with their prayer mats to pray under the leadership of Pandy.
Shakirah van der Berg of Mitchells Plain said it was the first time she and her family
‘It is nice to see everybody coming together’
had attended the moon sighting and was glad she could make it this year.
She said the family was ready for Eid as they had done all their shopping.
“We are going to make bout, sout vleis, tongue, roast and seafood.”
Soraya Adams, who wasthere with her family of six, said they usually attended the moon sighting every year, but hadn’t done so for the past two years.
“It was such a lovely day. The environment is nice and the hype around the sighting of the moon. It’s nice to see everybody coming together. But it’s also a sad time as it means Ramadaan is coming to an end.”
She too was ready for Eid, and a meal of leg of lamb, chicken, seafood and trifle.