Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Monday in Jakarta called on all Muslims in the country to accept the difference in the setting of the first day of Idul Fitri as a normal thing because it also happens in other Islamic countries.
"I call on all male and female Muslims to accept the difference (the first day of Idul Fitri) as a normal thing," Antara news agency quoted the president as saying at the state palace here to welcome the Idul Fitri festivity.
The President made the remarks as some Muslims in the country, especially followers of Muhammadiyah, one of the largest Muslim organizations, performed Idul Fitri prayers on Monday morning.
The Religious Affairs Ministry after conducting an "Isbat" (a meeting to decide the first day of Syawal ) on Sunday evening set the first day of Syawal on Tuesday, the same as the national calendar which would be followed by Idul Fitri prayers.
The President expressed the hope that thousands of Idul Fitri holiday makers this year would arrive in their villages safely in a bid to strengthen their familial relationships with their relatives.
Thousands of Muslims performed Idul Fitri prayers at the Al- Azhar grand mosque in South Jakarta, on Monday morning. Al-Azhar mosque is one of several places in Jakarta carrying out an Idul Fitri prayer service.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world with nearly 90 percent of its 230 million population are Muslims.
Idul Fitri is a major occasion for people to reassert the importance of family and brotherhood. During the four-day to one- week long holidays, nostalgic memories of the past will be retrieved; family members will cheer each other, tell stories, express thanks, ask for and give forgiveness, comfort the sad and unsuccessful, and/or praise successes and share happiness.