Millions of Muslims observe fasting as Ramadan begins

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For millions of Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan began on Thursday.

The first day of Ramadan – the holiest month for Muslims – is observed according to the local visibility of the new crescent moon. In some countries, Wednesday was the first day of the holy month.

Muslims around the world will be fasting every day for a month, refraining from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset.

It is a month of self-discipline and empathy for those living in poverty.

As one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting during Ramadan is accompanied by increased spiritual reflection, worship and acts of charity.