THOUSANDS of people across Hampshire will join hundreds of millions across the world to celebrate the end of Ramadan at the start of next week.

Celebrations will spill out on to the streets of Southampton when the crescent moon is sighted in the sky forecasting the end of the month-long daytime fast and beginning of Eid al-Fitr.

This weekend people across Hampshire will be looking forward to celebrating Eid, which sees families come together and enjoy a banquet of food.

Only when the crescent moon is sighted in the sky – which is expected either Sunday or Monday night – will people begin the festivities.

The secretary of the Abu-Bakr Mosque in Argyle Road, Mohammed Khan, known as Khanjee, said he is expecting 2,000 to 3,000 people to turn up on the day.

He said: “There will be a big party going on outside. Last time there was so many people here we had to put on a third prayer.

“It’s a celebration, we can eat as much as we want, people wear new clothes, we go to our families and spend the day with them. It means so much to Muslims.”

For one month Muslims across the world remember the anniversary of the Koran, the holy book of Islam, by abstaining from food or drink between sunrise and sunset in a bid to “experience what it is like for a poor person to live”.

During that time Muslims raise thousands of pounds for charities helping poverty-stricken people across the world.

Faith leaders stress that children, those who are unwell, diabetics, pregnant women, or people who are on long journeys are exempt from taking part in Ramadan.

Eid is the end of the fasting and to celebrate families spend time with each other after prayers in the morning.

They enjoy a banquet of food and wish each other “Eid Mubarak” – which means “blessed celebration”.