The Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival, marking the end of the month of Ramzan, takes place this weekend in parts of the world where sightings of the new moon are made. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together. Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.

1.In Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, Yohei Matsuyama, a Japanese Muslim and postdoctoral research fellow at Tokyo University, is silhouetted by a window as he looks at religious books at Hira Mosque in Gyotoku, on July 11, 2015. Matsuyama, who converted to Islam at age 18, is also director of the Japan Muslim Association, which estimates that about 10,000 native Japanese Muslims live in the predominantly Shinto and Buddhist country. -AP

2.An Iranian confectioner stacks special sweets called “zulbia” and “bamieh” in a pastry shop in Tehran on June 27, 2015. Zulbia and bamieh are the most popular sweets during the holy month of Ramadan in Iran, eaten as a special dessert after breaking the fast. Zulbia contains yogurt and starch and is deep-fried as a dough before being covered with a syrup of sugar and saffron. Bamieh is oval-shaped dough pieces, containing flour and eggs, deep-fried and then covered with the same syrup. -AFP

3.In East London, Muslims attend Friday prayers in the courtyard of a housing estate next to the small BBC community center and mosque on July 10, 2015. -Reuters

4.A Kashmiri Muslim man performs Wudu, ritual washing before prayers, on the bank of Dal Lake in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, on July 11, 2015. -AP

5.An aerial view shows Muslim worshipers praying at the Grand Mosque, the holiest place in Islam, in the holy city of Mecca during Ramadan on July 14, 2015. -Reuters

6.Palestinians, not permitted by Israeli security forces to cross into Jerusalem from the West Bank due to an age limit, use a ladder to climb over a section of the controversial Israeli barrier as they try to make their way to attend the fourth Friday prayer of Ramadan in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the village of Al-Ram, near Ramallah, on July 10, 2015. -Reuters

7.A Palestinian child recites verses from the Koran, Islam's holy book, as he waits for the noon prayer at a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip. -AP

8.A man fixes a mosque’s minaret with a crescent moon symbol during the holy month of Ramadan in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 6, 2015. -Reuters

9.Pakistani Shiite Muslims march in a procession to observe the death anniversary of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, in Lahore, Pakistan, on July 9, 2015. -AFP

10.Placing the Koran on their heads, Iranian Shiite Muslims pray at the graves of soldiers who were killed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery just outside Tehran, Iran, on July 8, 2015, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. -AP

11.Bahraini Muslim boys attend a reading of the Koran during the month of Ramadan on July 9, 2015, at a mosque in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama. -AFP

12.Bangladeshi Muslims offer prayers during Ramadan at Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on June 26, 2015. -AP

13.A girl smiles while holding water bottles she collected from a charity distribution point during a heatwave, outside the emergency department of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in Karachi, Pakistan, on June 28, 2015. -Reuters

14.A vendor bags a local delicacy to take away for Iftar during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, outside the Grand Mosque of Koumassi in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on June 19, 2015. -AFP

15.A man has kohl applied to his eyelids at the Grand Mosque in Sana’a, Yemen, on June 19, 2015, during the month of Ramadan. -Reuters

16.Egyptian boys read the Koran during the month of Ramadan inside Al Sultan Hassan Mosque in the old Islamic area of Cairo, Egypt, on July 7, 2015. -Reuters

17.A migrant waits to break his fast with the Iftar meal during the month of Ramadan in the city of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border on June 24, 2015. -AFP

18.People prepare to break their fast on the first day of Ramadan near Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 18, 2015. -Reuters

19.An Afghan laborer works at a traditional “jalebi” (sweet) factory during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Herat province on June 22, 2015. -AFP

20.A Palestinian couple breaks their fast on the beach in Gaza City during Ramadan on July 13, 2015. -AFP

21.Egyptian children hold a traditional Ramadan lantern placed in a windowsill during the month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt, on July 10, 2015. -AP

22.In Beijing, China, Muslim women share a light moment as they prepare food to break their fast with other devotees on the first day of Ramadan at the Niujie Mosque on June 18, 2015. -Reuters

23.Men pray inside a damaged mosque during the month of Ramadan in Qminas village, in Idlib province, Syria, on June 30, 2015. -Reuters

24.An Indian worker dries vermicelli, used to make a traditional sweet dish popular during Ramadan, in Hyderabad, India, on June 25, 2015. -AP

25.Afghan devotees perform a special evening Tarawih prayer during Ramadan at a mosque in Herat province on July 7, 2015. -AFP

26.A Malaysian Muslim man checks his mobile phone after prayers at a mosque during Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on June 26, 2015. -AP

27.Palestinian girls wait ahead of prayers on the third Friday of Ramadan at the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on July 3, 2015. -Reuters

28.Kosovo Muslims take part in a mass Iftar meal during Ramadan in the town of Kacanik on June 27, 2015. -AFP

29.Students from the Islamic boarding school Ar-Raudhatul Hasanah attend a regular Koran reading event in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on June 23, 2015. -Reuters

30.Children watch as a whirling dervish performs a traditional Sufi dance during Ramadan at a celebration in front of a historical mosque of Sultan al-Ashraf Qaitbey, and near a Sufi concert in the old Islamic area of Cairo, Egypt, on July 8, 2015. -Reuters

31.A Saudi woman tries on a mask at a shop during a festival to celebrate Ramadan in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on June 25, 2015. -AFP

32.A Muslim man calls for the evening prayer after having his Iftar (breaking of fast) meal at the ruins of the Feroz Shah Kotla mosque in New Delhi, India, on June 28, 2015. -Reuters

Courtesy: The Atlantic