First Tarawih Prayer in Jakarta

Ramadan, Photographed Around the World

See the most stunning pictures from observances of the holy month.

Every year, the world's nearly 1.8 billion Muslims — roughly 24 percent of the human population, that is — spiritually unite for Ramadan, a holy period that marks the ninth month on the Islamic calendar. The 30-day observance, during which the faithful pray, fast all day, and feast at night, is meant to be a time of reflection for Muslims and remind them of the suffering of those who are less fortunate.

Determined every year by the sighting of the first new moon, this year’s Ramadan celebrations officially kicked off on May 16. Here, striking scenes from around the globe.

PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA An officer of Malaysia's Islamic Authority uses a telescope to view the new moon of Ramadan, May 15. DHAKA, BANGLADESH NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images DHAKA, BANGLADESH Trying on a taqiyahr (a cap used for prayer), May 16.

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GIZA, EGYPT Anadolu Agency/Getty Images GIZA, EGYPT Decorating the streets, May 13. SURABAYA, INDONESIA JUNI KRISWANTO/AFP/Getty Images SURABAYA, INDONESIA Praying at the Al Akbar Mosque, May 16. ANKARA, TURKEY Anadolu Agency/Getty Images ANKARA, TURKEY An aerial view of a new mosque complex built on a million-plus square feet of land, May 12.
Ramadan in Gaza
Ramadan in Gaza City
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images HAKKARI, TURKEY Anadolu Agency/Getty Images HAKKARI, TURKEY Soldiers share an Iftar dinner, the traditional Ramadan fast-breaking meal, at their high-altitude base, May 16. The feast, delivered by helicopter, was the earliest in the country, due to the base's extreme location. SANAA, YEMEN Anadolu Agency/Getty Images SANAA, YEMEN Applying eyeliner, a tradition among some Muslim men, following prayer at the Great Mosque of Sana'a, May 23. LE HAVRE, FRANCE CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images LE HAVRE, FRANCE Praying at Mosquée Ennour, May 18. SRINAGAR, INDIA TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images SRINAGAR, INDIA Inside the Jamia Masjid mosque, May 18.
Baklava preparations during Islamic holy month Ramadan in Gaziantep
AGUNG SUPRIYANTO/AFP/Getty Images Anadolu Agency/Getty Images AJMAN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Francois Nel/Getty Images AJMAN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES The faithful at the Amina bint Ahmad Al-Ghurair mosque, May 23. JAKARTA, INDONESIA NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images JAKARTA, INDONESIA A mother teaching her daughter to read the Quran at the Istiqlal Mosque, May 25. KATHMANDU, NEPAL NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images KATHMANDU, NEPAL Ten-year-old Mohamad Saleem arrives to offer a prayer at the Nepali Jame mosque, May 25. GAZA CITY, GAZA MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images GAZA CITY, GAZA Palestinian national Waleed el-Hattab (far left) distributing free soup to children, May 27.
TIMUR MATAHARI/AFP/Getty Images IVAN DAMANIK/AFP/Getty Images WASHINGTON, D.C. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images WASHINGTON, D.C. Reverence before Iftar at Lafayette Square, June 6. BANDUNG, INDONESIA TIMUR MATAHARI/AFP/Getty Images BANDUNG, INDONESIA Women practicing archery while waiting to break their fast, May 28. KASHMIR, INDIA SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images KASHMIR, INDIA Women praying at the Dastgeer Sahab shrine, May 31. HERAT, AFGHANISTAN HOSHANG HASHIMI/AFP/Getty Images HERAT, AFGHANISTAN Reading the Quran outside a mosque, June 2. ROME, ITALY Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images ROME, ITALY Immigrants from Bangladesh during Iftar, June 3. URFA, TURKEY Anadolu Agency/Getty Images URFA, TURKEY Shepherds cooking their Iftar meal over a wood-burning fire, June 3. NAJAF, IRAQ HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images NAJAF, IRAQ A collective Koran reading session at a shrine to Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (considered among Shia Muslims as the successor to the prophet Muhammad), June 2. BEIRUT, LEBANON Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images BEIRUT, LEBANON Decorations in Martyrs Square commemorating the holy month, June 15. RAMADAN IN JERUSALEMApproximately 200,000 Muslim worshippers gathered at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on the second Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. The site is a contentious part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but these worshippers were able to convene together to pray.

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