This year’s Idul Fitri falls on Friday and Saturday, the government announced late Wednesday after consulting the main Muslim organizations.
With the country’s two largest Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, concluding that Idul Fitri falls on Sept. 10 and 11, or the same dates stated in the national calendar, most Muslims across the country will celebrate the much-anticipated holiday on the same days.
NU and Muhammadiyah followers have often celebrated the holiday on different days in the previous years, given their different methods to determine the dates.
While NU counts on the sighting of hilal (the very slight crescent moon that is first visible after a new moon), Muhammadiyah depends on hisab (astronomical calculation) to determine the end of Ramadan fasting month and the start of the Islamic month of Syawal.
The Idul Fitri holiday falls on Syawal first and second.
“Hilal has not been seen, thus the beginning of Syawal is on Friday, Sept. 10, 2010,” Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali said.
This year’s Ramadan thus consists of 30 days. Secretary to the ministry’s director general for Islamic education Muhaimin Lutfi explained that none of the witnesses assigned at 29 different locations across the country saw hilal on Wednesday.
He also said a number of major Muslim organizations in Indonesia approved the conclusion and thus all decided that Idul Fitri will fall on Friday and Saturday. Among organizations attending the meeting were NU, Muhammadiyah, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and Persis.
Muhammadiyah had decided on the date before the start of Ramadan.
At least two minority Islamic sects, however, already celebrated Idul Fitri on Wednesday. They are Jamaah An-Nadzier in the South Sulawesi regency of Gowa and Tarekat Naqsabandiyah in Koto Baru, West Sumatra.
Both sects started Ramadan two days earlier than most Indonesian Muslims, who began fasting on Aug. 11.
A few other local Muslim groups also sometimes celebrate Idul Fitri on different days as they decide on the date based on global, instead of local sightings of hilal.