Millions of people around the world have gathered for prayers and feasting to mark the end of the Holy Month

Muslims across the globe gathered to celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday, a holiday marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Eid al-Fitr starts when the new moon is spotted in the sky, making the Eid holiday different around the world. The celebrations begin when the fasting month of Ramadan ends and the following month of Shawwal begins.

Following a lunar cycle, the Islamic calendar falls back 11 days every year, causing holiday dates to vary year-to-year. Some Muslims may be able to see the moon from the vantage point of their geographic location while others may not. Thus, Eid ul Fitr will be celebrated on different days in different parts of the world.

Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr in different ways, depending on their cultural background and traditional values.

For many Muslims, Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, spiritual renewal, developing discipline, focusing on actions with purpose and giving back to humanity. It is also an opportunity to connect with loved ones over dinner as they break the fast with family and friends. During Eid’l Fitr, Muslims celebrate their patience, perseverance, and hard work.

Muslims gather to offer prayers at the central mosque in Moscow on July 5, 2016, during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Photo: Alexander Utkin/AFP/Getty Images

Muslims gather to offer prayers at the central mosque in Moscow on July 5, 2016, during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Photo: Alexander Utkin/AFP/Getty Images

Eid-ul-Fitr 2016 celebration

Across the world, millions of Muslims have marked the end of Ramadan with prayers, feasting and family time.

Traditional greetings during the Islamic holiday begin with Eid Mubarak, which means “Have a blessed Eid.” Families gather together to pray, share meals and mark an end to the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Most of the countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan, Iran, United States, United Kingdom, Australia and others marked Eid-ul-Fitr on Wednesday, 6 July, with the exception of India and Bangladesh where Eid has been declared on Thursday, 7 July.

Eid celebrations in Turkey and Russia came a day before Saudi Arabia and others.

Turkish Muslims offer Eid al Fitr prayers as they mark the first day of the Eid al-Fitr at Fatih Sultan Mosque on July 5, 2016 in Istanbul. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Turkish Muslims offer Eid al Fitr prayers as they mark the first day of the Eid al-Fitr at Fatih Sultan Mosque on July 5, 2016 in Istanbul. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

This year’s celebrations are marred by a string of high-profile attacks seen in the past 30 days. Throughout Ramadan, the attacks – mostly claimed by ISIS-affiliated militants – have targeted Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Bangladesh and the US, killing hundreds of people.

On July 5, a suicide attack in Saudi city of Medina—the resting place of the Prophet Mohammed and the second-most holy site in Islam—killed at least four security officers. Only two days before, massive suicide bombing killed more than 250 Ramadan shoppers in a busy street in Baghdad, Iraq. And on July 1, at least 20 people were killed by gunmen in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka after a 10-hour-long hostage situation at a cafe.

This is why in many places, a dark shadow stretches over those celebrations as people try to come to terms with the horror that has befallen them over the past few weeks.

In Baghdad, thousands gathered in the burnt out ruins of a shopping centre destroyed by ISIS on Sunday, lighting candles and remembering the 250 people who died in the worst violence to hit the Iraqi capital since 2003.

People light candles in Karada neighborhood in Baghdad where more than 200 people were killed in recent ISIS attack.

People light candles in Karada neighborhood in Baghdad where more than 200 people were killed in recent ISIS attack.

For many Muslims, Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, spiritual renewal, developing discipline, focusing on actions with purpose and giving back to humanity. It is also an opportunity to connect with loved ones over dinner as they break the fast with family and friends. During Eid’l Fitr, Muslims celebrate their patience, perseverance, and hard work.

What is Eid al-Fitr?

Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims the world over. It’s a day of observance, but also an occasion for Muslims to show their gratitude to God, as well as give alms to the poor. It commemorates the end of Islam’s holiest month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar in which Muslims adhere to a strict fast observed from sunrise to sunrise.

Fasting is viewed as a time to exercise self-control, and as a cleanse for the mind, body and spirit. Many Muslims liken the fasting to a spiritual detox, a way to bring themselves closer to God. The fasting is also intended to act as a reminder of the suffering of those less fortunate, who often don’t have access to food and water.

There were happier scenes in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where children paraded through the streets to mark the end of Ramadan.

There were happier scenes in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where children paraded through the streets to mark the end of Ramadan.

Pakistani women share greeting after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers at the historical Badshahi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Photo: AP

Pakistani women share greeting after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers at the historical Badshahi mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Photo: AP

A Palestinian man shows traditional date-filled cookies at a bakery in Jerusalem's Old City on July 5, 2016, ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. Photo: Ahmad Gharabali/AFP/Getty

A Palestinian man shows traditional date-filled cookies at a bakery in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 5, 2016, ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. Photo: Ahmad Gharabali/AFP/Getty

Malaysian Muslims offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at the National mosque in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/ AFP

Malaysian Muslims offer Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at the National mosque in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/ AFP

People arrive at the historic Niujie mosque as Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr 2016 in Chinese capital, Beijing. Photo: Damir Sagoli/Reuters

People arrive at the historic Niujie mosque as Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr 2016 in Chinese capital, Beijing. Photo: Damir Sagoli/Reuters

Pakistani men sell balloons after Eid prayers in Karachi. Photo: Rehan Khan/EPA

Pakistani men sell balloons after Eid prayers in Karachi. Photo: Rehan Khan/EPA