IN PHOTOS: End of Ramadan at Southeast Asia's biggest mosque
JAKARTA, Indonesia – More than a hundred thousand pilgrims visited Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in South East Asia, as the holy month of Ramadan concluded in Indonesia on July 6.
Various Indonesian ministers and 18 foreign ambassadors were also in attendance.
Following the recent spike in terror attacks globally, security was strengthened in the mosque with a thousand guards securing the location. All entry points were guarded with security checkpoints as well.
“We want Istiqlal Mosque to be a symbol of unity and tolerance during this period. The mosque welcomes people of all faith and hopes to increase unity across Indonesia,” said Abdul H.A. Salam, the mosque’s information officer in response to the attacks in Solo, Indonesia and globally.
Special Indonesian rituals
The Indonesian government declared a 3-day national holiday from July 6-8 to celebrate the end of the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. During this time, millions of Indonesia return home, locally called as mudik, to meet families before the festivities begin.
On the first morning, Muslims go to mosques or open spaces for the special morning Salat prayers. After the morning worship, they return to their homes to continue the celebration with their family and loved ones.
During the first day, special food is prepared as it is the first daylight meal many will have in a month due to fasting during Ramadan.
Indonesians don their finest traditional clothes and visit relatives, friends, and neighborhood over the 3-day period. In these visits, gifts or money is exchanged as they seek reconciliation to continue a peaceful life.
Visiting graves of loved ones is also a common ritual practiced by Muslims in the country. They clean the headstones of the graves and adorn it with flowers along with reciting important verses from the Quran.
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