Image via WikipediaThere's something comforting about the unknown. About setting holidays not by scientific, technical measurements of so many billions of atomic vibrations, but by something simple, like the first sighting of the waxing crescent moon.
The moon was sighted, and most of the Muslim world will celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan today, culminating in Eid al-Fitr, the post-sunset feast marking the end of fasting. I say most, because there is some dispute within Muslim communities about how the sighting of the moon takes place: Is it universal, or must a local Muslim make the sighting? (Here in the Pacific Northwest, the official* start of the winter rainy season Oct. 31 makes local sightings quite problematic, unless airplanes flying over the cloud cover count.)
To all devout, peaceful Muslims of the world, Eid mubarak!
*It's official only because I say it is. By the powers vested in me by the universal authorities, I have declared Oct. 31 the official beginning of the 2005-2006 Pacific Northwest Rainy Season. Local rituals following this declaration bid the sun a fond farewell, and extend sincere wishes that it will reappear to us before April 1. (Some years, that's wishful thinking...)