The new moon will occur on May 22, however it is unlikely that the crescent will be visible to the naked eye until May 24.
The HMNAO’s moon watch website stated the new moon will occur on the evening of May 22. However, it is unlikely the crescent will be easily visible to the naked eye until the evening of May 24. Sightings may be made on May 23 under favorable conditions.
The sighting of the new moon indicates the beginning of the Shawwal month in the Islamic lunar calendar and the end of Ramadan’s month-long fast.
Around the world, the exact date of the new moon sighting may differ, resulting in Muslims ending their fast a day earlier or later depending on their geographic location.
This year, astronomers also expect Muslims in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United States to mark May 24 as this year’s Eid celebration.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, requiring followers to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual activity from sunrise to sunset during the ninth month of the lunar year.
Muslims around the world mark the end of the fast with special prayers, donations to charity, gift-giving, and traditional sweets.
According to the UK Office for National Statistics, Muslims account for approximately 6% of the country’s total population.
This year, religious leaders encourage Muslims to pray at home in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
HMNAO instructed observers to scan the western horizon near where the sun sets, adding that the crescent will appear faint at first, but will brighten in the days following its sighting.