, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 8- The much anticipated Idd ul Fitr holiday will be marked on Saturday and not Friday, Chief Kadhi Ahmed Kassim said on Wednesday.
Mr Kassim said Saturday’s holiday would be marked at the Sir Ali Muslim Club grounds in Nairobi among other places.
“Muslims should congregate on the traditional venues where they break their fast,” said Mr Kassim.
He said the holiday which was determined by the first sighting of the crescent moon, also relied on the expiry of the 30 day fast.
“We cannot break our fast on Friday because the moon is yet to be sighted and we need to let the government know when we will observe the holiday on time so it’s a bit late for us to mark the day on Friday,” he said.
Muslims around the world started observing the Holy Month of Ramadhan on August 11.
He further explained that the day which either falls on a Friday or Saturday, moved within the calendar year by about half a month each year such that it follows the previous Idd by about 11 and a half months.
Government spokesman Alfred Mutua also sent a statement to Newsrooms declaring Saturday a public holiday.
“Friday and Monday are normal working days,” read the government statement.
To mark the holiday, most men don white kanzus while women wear their traditional black flowing robes with brightly coloured head scarves.
Ramadhan is the period during which Muslims fast and pray and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
It is marked every ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is believed to be one of the holiest periods of the year. Muslims observe it for 30 days and abstain from eating, smoking, drinking as well as participating in anything that is ill natured or excessive from dawn until the sun sets.
The fast is broken on Idd and during the celebrations, Muslims gather together and sometimes a sermon is shared.