Muslims in Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and some parts of Pakistan marked on June 5 the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Special prayers were held in overcrowded mosques and the countries' leaders congratulated people on the holiday, known as Eid al-Fitr, which is celebrated for two or three days after the end of Ramadan -- the month during which Muslims do not eat or drink during the daytime.
Muslims follow a lunar calendar and a moon-sighting methodology that can lead to different countries declaring the start and end of Ramadan a day or two apart.
Therefore some countries, such as Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Russia's mostly Muslim-populated Volga and North Caucasus regions, some parts of Pakistan, and many other countries started marking the holiday on June 4.
During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, and sex from sunrise to sunset for the entire month.
The Ramadan fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate.
There are some 1.8 billion Muslims, making up about 24 percent of the world's population.