Millions of Russian Muslims are celebrating Eid ul-Fitr on Tuesday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
In Moscow mosques were not able to accommodate all worshippers, so people poured into streets and lanes.
The solution has been to allow the people to pray right outside in the street, despite the disapproval of some residents.
This year, Moscow authorities opened a large exhibition center for the Muslims to visit and pray, but the novelty proved not as popular as had been hoped.
Still, thousands of worshippers who found no room inside prayed around the mosques, laying down their mats on the concrete.
Moscow’s mosques can host around 10,000 people, while there are more than 100,000 believers who want to take part in the celebrations.
It means that 90,000 believers have to pray in the streets, lanes, on the concrete and even on tram lines.
This is quite uncomfortable for both believers and local residents.
Building new mosques could have solved the burning issue, but many local residents are against such moves.
Prospekt Mira (literally, Prospect of Peace) in Central Moscow was filled up with worshippers.
Both children and adults came to take part in the celebrations.
Those who wanted to make it to the mosques had to arrive early in the morning.
The police did their best to maintain order and security. Despite some traffic jams caused by the praying crowds, no serious inconvenience was reported.
Some of the rituals, like ablution, had to be performed in the streets.
The better-off brought prayer mats with them; others placed wallpaper on the ground or simply used newspapers.
The muezzin’s signing was transmitted via loud-speaker.
The mosque in Moscow’s center is still under construction – the project was frozen years ago when finances dried up.
When Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin promised to find the funds, the gathered Muslims burst into applause.
Most of the non-Muslims in the streets told journalists that their fellow citizens and visiting foreigners have the right to properly celebrate according to their religion and that the discomfort it causes is minor and passing.
Eid ul-Fitr is one of the most important holidays for Muslims. The festivity ends the month-long fast which all faithful able-bodied Muslims have to observe.
Believers exchange the words, “Eid Mubārak” (“Blessed Eid”).
The holiday lasts for three days and involves visiting relatives and friends and paying respects at the graves of ancestors.
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