Kindiki declares Wednesday public holiday to mark Idd-ul-Fitr


Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has declared Wednesday April 10 a national public holiday to mark Idd-ul-Fitr.

In a special gazette notice dated Tuesday, April 9, Prof Kindiki said the day would be reserved for the Muslim festival.

Idd-ul-Fitr marks the end of the month-long fasting during Ramadan.

Muslims in Kenya began observing the holy month of Ramadan in early March.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is considered the holiest by Muslims. Idd-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. 

Traditionally, Idd is celebrated for three days as an official holiday in Muslim-majority countries. However, the number of days varies from country to country.

Muslims begin the celebration of Idd by attending a prayer service shortly after dawn, followed by a short sermon.

But according to Chief Kadhi Abdulhalim Hussein, the 29th Ramadhan 1445H will correspond to 9 April 2024, depending on the sighting of the Shawal crescent 1445H.

"Idd-ul-Fitr will fall on either 10 or 11 April 2024. However, the Idd-ul-Fitr holiday will be on Thursday, 11 April, 2024, calculated after the maximum 30 days of the lunar month for logistical reasons," he said on Tuesday.

In March, the Chief Kadhi urged those following Saudi Arabia's position of observing the moon a day earlier to stop causing confusion and wait for an official announcement.

"We have been given the authority to guide Muslims on the issue of moon sighting, among other important responsibilities. So all Muslims should wait for our guidance and announcement before the start of Ramadhan," Sheikh Abdulhalim said.

"There are those who will say they have sighted the moon without proof and create confusion," he added. The chief Kadhi, whose office is responsible for announcing the start and end of the fasting period, said all kadhis in the country's 47 counties would be watching the skies for the moon today.

"We are in a different geographical location from Saudi Arabia, so Kenyan Muslims should follow what we in authority say about observing the crescent moon like other countries do," Sheikh Abdulhalim said.

During Ramadan, most Muslim families invite the poor to break their fast. The holy month is followed by the festival of Idd-ul-Fitr, which is traditionally celebrated with new clothes, tasty treats and gifts.